Salmonellosis is an infection of the intestines caused by the bacteria (germs) Salmonella . Occasionally it spreads to the bloodstream. It is one of the more common causes of food-related illness. Most salmonellosis cases occur in the summer and early fall. For data on salmonellosis in New York City visit EpiQuery .
Any person can get salmonellosis, but it is seen more often in infants and children.
Salmonella germs are spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or by direct contact with infected people or animals.
Salmonella are widely distributed in our food chain and environment. The bacteria often contaminate raw meat and poultry, eggs, unpasteurized milk, and cheese products. Other sources of exposure may include contact with infected pet reptiles, pet chicks or ducks, dogs, and cats.
People infected by Salmonella may experience mild or severe diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and occasionally vomiting. Bloodstream infections are less common, but can be quite serious for the very young or elderly.
The symptoms generally appear 1 to 3 days after infection.
The carrier stage varies from several days to many months. Infants and people who have been treated with oral antibiotics tend to carry the germ longer than others.
If a doctor suspects salmonellosis, he/she can request tests to check a patient's stool (feces) or blood for the bacteria.
Most people with salmonellosis will recover on their own or require only fluids to prevent dehydration. Antibiotics and anti-diarrheal medicines are generally not recommended.
Since Salmonella bacteria are in the stool (feces), only people with active diarrhea who are unable to control their bowel habits (e.g., infants, young children, certain handicapped individuals) should stay home from work or school/daycare. Most infected people may return to work or school when their stools become formed as long as they carefully wash their hands with soap and warm running water after using the toilet. Food handlers, health care workers, and children in day care must obtain the approval of the Health Department before returning to their routine activities. This requires follow-up stool testing to be sure that they are no longer infectious.
|Take steps to help keep your food safe from bacteria.
Wash hands often.