What is salmonellosis?
Salmonellosis is an infection of the intestine caused by Salmonella bacteria. These bacteria are a frequent cause of food poisoning. Salmonella has also been used as a bioterrorist weapon.
How do you get it?
You get salmonellosis by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with human or animal feces containing the bacteria. You can also get it if you put your hands to your mouth after touching Salmonella-carrying animals (including turtles, chicks, dogs, cats and rodents). Foods that are often connected to salmonella food poisoning include eggs, poultry, beef, pork, and unpasteurized dairy products, but any food contaminated with the bacteria can be a source of infection. Additionally, salmonellosis is spread from person-to-person by fecal-oral contact that can occur when taking care of or eating foods prepared by someone with diarrhea caused by Salmonella. Some people may be infected with Salmonella and can spread it to others without showing any symptoms of illness.
What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. The illness usually lasts 5 to 7 days, and most persons, recover without treatment. Persons with severe diarrhea may require rehydration with intravenous fluids.
When do symptoms start?
The symptoms usually start 12 to 72 hours after infection with the bacteria.
What is the treatment for salmonellosis?
Fluid and electrolyte replacement is most important. Most persons with salmonellosis will recover without treatment. However, a doctor can prescribe medicines to treat severe cases of the disease. Infants, the elderly, and those with other medical problems should be evaluated by a doctor.
Should a person with salmonellosis go to work or school?
Students with diarrhea should stay home from school until the diarrhea stops. Food handlers, day care workers, and health care workers should not return to work until they have their doctor's permission, usually after two lab tests showing they are no longer infected.
How can you keep from getting it?
Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet, after changing diapers, after handling pets, and especially before preparing or eating food.
Do not drink untreated water (ponds, streams, rivers).
Do not drink unpasteurized (raw) milk or eat raw or undercooked meat, and refrigerate foods promptly after purchase. Do not eat raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs.
Always treat raw poultry, beef, and pork as if they were contaminated. Keep food that will be eaten raw, such as vegetables, from becoming contaminated by animal products. Do not lick your fingers, touch other foods, or smoke a cigarette before washing your hands after handling raw meat.
Wash cutting boards thoroughly after contact with each food, so that the boards do not contaminate the next food prepared.
Cook poultry and meats to an even inner temperature (usually 165įF or higher), especially when using a microwave. Check food temperatures with a thermometer.
Avoid letting infants or young children touch reptiles, such as turtles or iguanas.
Avoid sexual practices that may permit fecal-oral transmission.