Clostridium Perfringens


Clostridium perfringens  is an illness caused by cooked meat and poultry dishes subject to time and temperature abuse.

Clostridium perfringens

The bacteria can survive without nutrition and harsh environmental conditions. Even after cooking, the bacteria can survive. When the food is cooled, the bacteria start multiplying faster than other bacteria do. Once the bacteria are ingested, they start making toxins in the intestines. These toxins are linked to 2 types of foodborne illnesses. One of the diseases is very common; It starts within 16 hours and resolves by itself if the case is not immunocompromised. However, serious and long-lasting cases must be treated to prevent complications. The second type of illness is more severe and could have lethal outcomes.

Clostridium perfringens Transmission

Reservoirs & Transmission

Clostridium perfringens Reservoirs



Clostridium perfringens Symptoms

Susceptible Populations to Clostridium perfringens

At-risk are Institutional and communal settings where a large quantity of food is prepared several hours in advance. The frequent victims of this bacterial infection are young, elderly, and immunocompromised. 

Clostridium perfringens Prevention

Keep Clean: Wash your hands before, during and after handling food. Wash utensils, cutting boards, and any surfaces that food touches after each use. Wash fruits and veggies—but not meat, poultry, or eggs.

Separate Raw and Cooked: Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils for raw (uncooked) produce and for raw (uncooked) meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods while shopping and in the refrigerator.

Cook Thoroughly and Keep Food at Safe Temperature: Only a food thermometer can make sure meat, poultry, fish, and casseroles are cooked to a safe internal temperature. For example, internal temperatures should be 145°F or 63°C for whole meats (allow the meat to rest after cooking for 3 minutes at least) and fish, 160°F or 71°C for ground meats, and 165°F or 74°C for all poultry. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.

Chill: Use appliance thermometers to be sure your refrigerator is at or below 40ºF or  4°C and your freezer is 0ºF (-17.78°C) or below. Between 40ºF or 4°C and 140ºF or 60°, C is the Danger Zone, when bacteria can multiply rapidly. Generally, the more bacteria, the more likely someone will get sick. Most refrigerators have just a colder/ warmer adjustment, so the only way to know is to put a thermometer inside.

Hand Washing

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage
  • Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water. Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. Keep in mind, that sanitizers do not kill all types of germs. If your hands are visibly dirty, soap them then use a sanitizer. They also might not remove chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals from your hands.

The following information is an extract from the World Health Organization (2008). Foodborne Disease Outbreaks: Guidelines for Investigation and Control. Geneva, Switzerland, 2008