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Salmonella General Information

 

What is salmonellosis?

Salmonellosis (salmonella) is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment.

 

What sort of germ is Salmonella?

Salmonella is actually a group of bacteria that can cause diarrheal illness in humans. They are microscopic living creatures that pass from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals. There are many different kinds of Salmonella bacteria, and they have been known to cause illness for over 100 years.

 

How can Salmonella infections be diagnosed?

Because many different kinds of illnesses can cause diarrhea, fever, or abdominal cramps, laboratory tests are needed to determine that Salmonella is the cause of the illness.

 

How can Salmonella infections be treated?

Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days and often do not require treatment other than oral fluids. Persons with severe diarrhea may require rehydration with intravenous fluids.

 

Are there long term consequences to a Salmonella infection?

Persons with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal. A small number of persons may develop complications.

 

How do people catch Salmonella?

Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals, including birds. Salmonella are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces. Salmonella may also be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea.

 

What can a person do to prevent this illness?

There is no vaccine to prevent salmonellosis. Because foods of animal origin may be contaminated with Salmonella, people should not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat. Remember, some dressings and sauces may have uncooked eggs in them. Persons also should not consume raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products. Produce should be thoroughly washed.

 

How common is salmonellosis?

Every year, approximately 40,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the United States. Because many milder cases are not diagnosed or reported, the actual number of infections may be thirty or more times greater.

 

What else can be done to prevent salmonellosis?

It is important for the public health department to know about cases of salmonellosis. It is important for clinical laboratories to send isolates of Salmonella to city, county, or state public health laboratories so the specific type can be determined and compared with other Salmonella in the community.

 

What can I do to prevent salmonellosis?

  • Cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly. Do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs, or raw (unpasteurized) milk
  • If you are served undercooked meat, poultry or eggs in a restaurant, don't hesitate to send it back to the kitchen for further cooking.
  • Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
  • Be particularly careful with foods prepared for infants, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.
  • Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles, birds, or baby chicks, and after contact with pet feces.
  • Avoid direct or even indirect contact between reptiles (turtles, iguanas, other lizards, snakes) and infants or immunocompromised persons.
  • Don't work with raw poultry or meat, and an infant (e.g., feed, change diaper) at the same time.
  • Mother's milk is the safest food for young infants. Breastfeeding prevents salmonellosis and many other health problems

 

More information about salmonella

 

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