Salmonellosis

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How common is Salmonellosis?
  • About 40,000 cases are reported in the United States each year (actual number may be significantly higher, as many milder cases are not diagnosed or reported.
  • About 400 people with acute Salmonella die each year.
  • It is more common in the summer than in the winter.
  • Children are the most likely to get Salmonella.


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How is Salmonellosis diagnosed?

Through fecal specimens sent to a testing laboratory.



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How is Salmonellosis transmitted?

Through the feces of people or animals including birds and especially reptiles (this includes turtles) to other people or animals, usually through food that has been contaminated, either though direct contact with infected feces or through unwashed hands of an infected food handler (did not wash hands after using the bathroom).



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How is Salmonellosis treated?
  • Most infected persons recover without treatment unless the person becomes severely dehydrated.
  • Antibiotics usually are not necessary unless the infection spreads beyond the intestines.


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How long does a person infected with Salmonellosis stay ill?

Usually five to seven days.



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How long does the Salmonellosis bacteria survive in the environment?

It depends on environmental conditions.



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How sick can a person infected with Salmonellosis get?
  • Most infected persons recover without treatment.
  • Some develop severe diarrhea, leading to dehydration and hospitalization for rehydration with intravenous fluids.
  • In some cases, the infection can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream, then to other body sites. In these cases, death can result unless the infected person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
  • A small number of people go on to develop Reiter’s syndrome (pains in joints, irritation of the eyes and painful urination), which can last for months or years and can lead to chronic arthritis.
  • Young children, the elderly and the immunocompromised are the most likely to have severe infections.


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What are steps for avoiding disease transmission/getting Salmonellosis?
  • Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent Salmonella.
  • The primary method of prevention is to thoroughly wash your hands
    • After using the bathroom
    • After having contact with animal feces
    • After handling reptiles or birds
  • Avoid cross-contamination by
    • Thoroughly washing your hands before handling any food and between handling different types of food
    • Keeping uncooked meats separate from produce, cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods
    • Thoroughly wash hands and cutting boards, counters, knives and other utensils used to prepare uncooked foods of animal origin.
  • Do not eat or drink raw or undercooked foods of animal origin (e.g., eggs, poultry or meat or unpasteurized milk).
  • Thoroughly wash produce before eating.
  • If you have Salmonella, do not prepare food or pour water for others until you have been shown to no longer be carrying the Salmonella bacterium.


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Is Salmonellosis required to be reported to health authorities?

Yes.



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What are the symptoms of Salmonellosis?

Diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps.



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What is Salmonellosis?

Salmonellosis is an illness with symptoms that usually begin in the intestines. It is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella.



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How long does it take for Salmonellosis test results to be available?

At least 72 hours, as testing involves growing a culture.



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What is the incubation period (the time from exposure to Salmonellosis until the time symptoms occur)?

Symptoms develop within 12 to 72 hours after infection.



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Where can I get more information on Salmonellosis?