No matter what type of food-borne pathogen infections that are caused by consumption of raw or undercooked food, susceptible populations including pregnant women, infants, young children, the elderly and people with weakened immunity, are more likely to develop severe symptoms and even face the risk of death.
Hormonal and immunological changes during pregnancy result in weakening of mother's immune system and hence she is more prone to foodborne disease. On the other hand, the developing foetus is susceptible to foodborne pathogens that may not cause symptoms in the mother. Listerosis is a well-known risk for this group of people, it can seriously affect the development of foetus and can even cause death.
Advisory for Pregnant Women
Infants and Young Children
The natural defenses of infants and young children against foodborne pathogens are weaker, because the immune system is not well developed and the protection afforded by resident gut flora may not be as effective as that in adults. The stomach of newborns is less acidic than that of adults; bacteria and other pathogens survive relatively easier in newborns. In addition, infants and young children consume more food in proportion to their weight than adults. Hence, they can proportionately consume more toxins or contaminants if present in food.
Advisory for Infants and Young Children
When we get older, our immune systems and natural defences are progressively weakened. Some may have their immune systems further weakened if they suffer from certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes, as a result of the disease or its therapy.
Advisory for the Elderly
People with Weakened Immunity
People with weakened immunity include people with immunological disorders (e.g. HIV infection) and chronic diseases (e.g. cancer) or patients undergoing treatments that weaken their immunity (e.g. on antibiotics treatment, antacid and long-term steroids or drugs given to prevent transplant rejection, etc.). These people are of higher-risk in to food-borne diseases from consumption of raw and undercooked foods and their complications.
Advisory for People with Weakened Immunity