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Clostridium Perfringens

What is it?

Clostridium perfringens or C. perfringens is the third most common cause of foodborne illness in North America, causing an estimated one million cases per year. These spore-forming bacteria can be found as a normal component of decaying plant life, marine sediment, soil, and in the intestinal tract of many animals, including humans.

How is it spread?

They prefer environments with little to no oxygen and typically cause illnesses when large quantities are ingested through inadequately cooked meat and poultry or in prepared food that has been left at the wrong temperature for too long. These bacteria thrive between 40-140˚F (aka the danger zone); they cannot grow at proper refrigerator or freezer temperatures.

Typical Symptoms

Symptoms include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. It cannot be passed from one person to another. Most occurrences resolve themselves within 24 hours, but extreme cases of Type C can result in death.

Most at risk

Young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons are most at risk, but given the right conditions, anyone can suffer this illness.

For more information, see:

Food Safety