What is salmonellosis?
Salmonellosis is an illness that is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella. It is a common cause of diarrhea in the United States and one of the most common causes of food poisoning.
Where are Salmonella bacteria found?
Salmonella bacteria may be present in certain food products such as raw meats, raw poultry, unpasteurized milk and cheese products, raw eggs, and in stool of infected persons. Other sources of exposure may include contact with infected reptiles (e.g., snakes, lizards, turtles), pet chicks, dogs, and cats.
How do these bacteria spread?
Salmonella bacteria are spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water and less often by contact with infected people or animals.
Who gets salmonellosis?
Anyone can get salmonellosis, but it is recognized more often in infants and children.
What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?
People infected with Salmonella may experience mild or severe diarrhea, fever, and occasionally vomiting.
How soon do symptoms appear?
The symptoms generally appear from 12 - 36 hours after exposure (range 6 – 72 hours).
How long can an infected person carry Salmonella?
An infected person can have Salmonella bacteria in the stool for several days to many months. Infants and people who have been treated with oral antibiotics tend to carry the germ longer than others.
Should an infected person be excluded from work or school?
Since Salmonella bacteria are in the stool, people with active diarrhea who are unable to control their bowel habits (e.g., infants, young children, certain handicapped individuals) need to be isolated. Most infected people may return to work or school once diarrhea has stopped, provided they carefully wash their hands after toilet visits. Food handlers should have two negative stools, obtained at least 24 hours apart, before returning to their routine activities.
What is the treatment for salmonellosis?
Most people infected with Salmonella will recover on their own; however, some may require fluids to prevent dehydration. Antibiotics and antidiarrheal drugs are generally not recommended for typical cases.
How can salmonellosis be prevented?
Always treat raw poultry, beef, and pork as if they are contaminated:
Wrap fresh meats in plastic bags at the market to prevent blood from dripping on other foods.
Refrigerate foods promptly; minimize holding at room temperature.
Cutting boards and counters used for preparation should be washed well immediately after use to prevent cross contamination with other foods.
Ensure that the correct internal cooking temperature is reached – particularly when using a microwave.
This fact sheet is for informational purposes only. It should not be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you think that you may have this infection, or have questions about the disease described above, you should consult your health care provider.
For additional information on this disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
To contact the Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program, please call 860-509-7994.