While food poisoning can be caused by a variety of bacteria and viruses in uncooked or improperly handled food, the majority of food poisoning from eating chicken is a result of Campylobacter contamination. By one estimate, about half of all raw chicken is contaminated by one or more species of Campylobacter bacteria.
Although many different species of Campylobacter may live in raw chicken, the symptoms of the infection they cause are generally similar, with diarrhea often the first and most obvious. If diarrhea is mild, sufferers may need only drink enough water to replace lost fluids; severe cases may necessitate antibiotics.
Fever and Headache
Another common symptom of food poisoning from chicken is a combination of fever and headache, which generally lasts three to six days. A fever that is not severe does not usually need to be treated with antibiotics.
Nausea, Vomiting, and Abdominal Pain
Along with the diarrhea typical of food poisoning from raw chicken, many people who suffer from a Campylobacter infection will experience abdominal symptoms, including pain, nausea, and vomiting. As with diarrhea, nausea should be treated by replacing lost fluids and nutrients.
In rare cases, a Campylobacter infection may result in a more severe infection of the blood, liver, or pancreas. While the infection is rarely fatal, particularly in the developed world, it is more dangerous to young children, the elderly, and people already suffering from another disease, such as AIDS.
About this Author
Rachel Conoley has been a newspaper copy editor and page designer since 1997. She has dual bachelor\’s degrees in classical culture and history from the University of Oklahoma. On the side, she has been making and selling tie-dye since 2007.