Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis

(Infection; Salmonella Enterica; Food Poisoning)

How to Say It: Sal-mow-nell-oh-sis

Definition

Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning.

Causes

Certain bacteria cause this kind of food poisoning. They grow in many places such as water, raw meat, seafood, and eggs. Infection comes from eating or drinking products with the bacteria. It can also come from contact with infected animals.

Once in the body, the germs go to the bowels. The germs grow and cause problems.

Stomach and Intestines

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Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk are:

  • Eating raw or poorly cooked meat, poultry, eggs, fish, or seafood
  • Eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy products
  • Drinking unclean water
  • Working with farm animals, birds, and reptiles
  • Having low levels of stomach acid
  • Taking stomach acid reducers
  • Having a weak immune system from illness or medicines

Symptoms

The infection may cause:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Belly cramps
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about symptoms, habits, and health history. A physical exam will be done. It may be diagnosed with blood or stool tests.

Treatment

The infection usually goes away on its own in 2 to 5 days. Other care may involve:

  • Fluids and electrolytes—given by IV or taken by mouth
  • Medicines to lower fever and ease pain
  • Antibiotics—in certain cases such as a blood infection

Prevention

To lower the risk of food poisoning:

  • Wash hands often.
  • Wash cutting boards and kitchen tools with hot soapy water before and after handling raw foods.
  • Use a different cutting board for raw meats.
  • Do not eat or drink unpasteurized dairy products.
  • Cook foods as advised. Use a thermometer.
  • Put foods in the refrigerator as soon as possible.

RESOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov
Food Safety—US Department of Health and Human Services
http://www.foodsafety.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education
https://www.fightbac.org/
Public Health Agency of Canada
https://www.canada.ca

References:

Knodler LA, Elfenbein JR. Salmonella enterica. Trends Microbiol. 2019;27(11):964-965.
Salmonella. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella. Accessed January 28, 2021.
Nontyphoidal Salmonella infections. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/gram-negative-bacilli/nontyphoidal-salmonella-infections. Accessed January 28, 2021.
Nontyphoidal salmonellosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/nontyphoidal-salmonellosis. Accessed January 28, 2021.
Last reviewed September 2020 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 1/28/2021

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