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Salmonellosis

(Infection; Salmonella Enterica; Food Poisoning)
  • Definition

    Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called salmonella. Salmonella can grow in a variety of places such as water, raw meat, seafood, certain pets, and eggs.
  • Causes

    Salmonellosis is caused by ingestion of a strain of bacteria called salmonella. After the bacteria are ingested, within 6-48 hours they will pass through the stomach to the intestine where inflammation occurs and spreads.
    Stomach and Intestines
    AC00010 97870 1 labeled
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your risk of getting salmonellosis include:
    • Eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, fish, or seafood
    • Eating unpasteurized dairy products
    • Eating other contaminated foods
    • Drinking contaminated water
    • Handling reptiles, especially turtles
    • Taking antibiotics
    • Having a compromised immune system, such as in:
      • Elderly persons
      • Infants
      • People with HIV/AIDS
      • People with low stomach acidity, such as those who take medication that reduces stomach acid
  • Symptoms

    If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to salmonellosis. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions.
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal cramps
    • Fever
    • Vomiting
    • Headaches
  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may test your stool or blood to confirm presence of the bacteria
  • Treatment

    Over-the-counter medications or oral rehydration solutions may be used to treat the symptoms of salmonellosis. The symptoms will usually improve on their own within 2-5 days. If symptoms are severe, talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
    • Rehydration therapy— Oral or IV fluid replacement is needed; electrolytes may also be added to the solution.
    • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen—Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used to reduce fever or treat headaches and other pain.
    • Antibiotics—These are required only in severe cases where blood infection may occur. Antibiotic use in non-severe cases does not improve a person's outcome. It may cause the bacteria to stay longer in your system.
  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting salmonellosis, take the following steps:
    • Frequently wash hands and surfaces.
    • Wash hands and cutting boards with hot soapy water before and after handling raw foods.
    • Wash utensils thoroughly after using them on raw meats, fish, or poultry.
    • Do not use the same cutting boards for raw meats and raw vegetables.
    • Do not drink unpasteurized milk.
    • Drink bottled or purified water when traveling.
    • Cook all foods to appropriate temperatures.
    • Place foods in the refrigerator promptly.
    • Wash hands after handling reptiles.
    • Certain medications, like those to reduce stomach acid, may increase your risk for salmonellosis. Talk to your doctor about this risk.
  • RESOURCES

    Partnership for Food Safety Education http://www.fightbac.org

    US Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education http://www.canfightbac.org

    Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

    References

    Benenson A. Salmonellosis. Control of Communicable Diseases Manual. American Public Health Association. 1996: 410-414.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of a self-assessment questionnaire for food safety education in the home kitchen—Los Angeles County, California, 2006-2008. MMWR. 2010;59(34):1098-101.

    Edwards BH. Salmonella and shigella species. Clin Lab Med. 1999; 19(3):469-487.

    Heymann D. Salmonellosis. In: American Public Health Association. Control of Communicable Diseases Manual. 2004;469-473.

    Koningstein M, Simonsen J, et al. The interaction between prior antimicrobial drug exposure and resistance in human Salmonella infections. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2010;65(8):1819-1825.

    Salmonellosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/. Updated June 27, 2013. Accessed June 19, 2014. Salmonellosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated January 16, 2014. Accessed June 19, 2014.

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