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The truth about food poisoning: It might not be temporary

When most people hear the term "food poisoning" they think of a brief but unpleasant sickness. However, what people don't realize is that food poisoning can be deadly or lead to serious health problems months or years down the road.

Food poisoning is often caused by toxic bacteria and viruses in the food we eat.

It is estimated that about 76 million Americans are affected by food poising each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes 300,000 people who require hospitalization and 5,000 who die as a result of the poisoning.

E. coli is one of the most common culprits behind food poisoning, and scientists are only now beginning to understand the harmful affect the bacteria has after invading the human body, the Associated Press reported.

As it turns out, causing people to be violently ill for a few days isn't the only thing E. coli is capable of.

In fact, people who survived a severe form of the illness as children have had many serious health consequences show up 10 to 20 years later, including: high blood pressure, kidney damage and full kidney failure.

Additionally, scientists believe that about 10 percent of children who are infected with E. coli end up developing a life-threatening condition known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which causes the kidneys and other organs to fail.

Researchers from the University of Utah found that during the one to two decades after recovering from the E. coli, between 30 percent to one-half of HUS survivors end up with health problems caused by the kidney.

Check back tomorrow for more information on the serious health complications that can be caused by food poisoning, and what you can do if you have been affected.

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