Student tragically dies after eating pasta that was left out on the side for five days

Student tragically dies after eating pasta that was left out on the side for five days

Back in 2008, a 20-year-old student known only as AJ had made spaghetti in his apartment, but left it in a container at room temperature for around five days. His case was picked up by the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, who revealed the extent of the contamination that ultimately caused his death.

Leftover pasta Credit: Getty

Detailing how AJ reheated the pasta in a microwave before eating it and heading for sports practice, the journal explained exactly what happened next, revealing how AJ had treated the illness.

"Immediately after eating, he left home for his sports activities, but he returned 30 min later because of headache, abdominal pain, and nausea. At his arrival, he vomited profusely for several hours and at midnight had two episodes of watery diarrhea. He did not receive any medication and drank only water."

Bacillus Cereus Credit: Getty

The next day, his parents went into his room at around 11am because he hadn't been seen; it was then that they discovered that AJ had died. A legal examination concluded that AJ had died at around four o'clock that morning, and a postmortem conducted five days afterward confirmed that the young man had suffered from a strain of Bacillus cereus - one so poisonous that it killed him almost instantly.

"Legal examination determined the time of death, presumably at 4:00 AM, approximately 10 h after ingestion of the suspected meal. An autopsy could not be performed until 5 days later. Macroscopically, brownish and moderately softened liver and ascites (550 ml of citrine liquid) were found."

The case was picked up by the YouTuber Dr Bernard, a licensed practitioner, who went over the details of the incident, and warned against leaving food like pasta, rice or noodles out of the refrigerator for too long, saying the effects can be devastating after just a few hours.

"Many people eat pasta, or any other form of noodles, that are leftover for a day or two and they’re fine. But be careful of food left out for more than a few hours. If the food smells funny, it’s always better to be safe than sorry."

Bacillus cereus is a commonly-found source of food poisoning, with most of the cases originating from leftover foods such as rice, according to FoodSafety.Gov. "If food is to be stored longer than two hours, keep hot foods hot (over 140°F) and cold foods cold (40°F or under)," says the site in order to avoid contracting the bacteria.