Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health

by Aaron S
(Infection; Salmonella Enterica; Food Poisoning)

Definition

Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning.

Causes

Certain bacteria cause this kind of food poisoning. They grow in a many places such as water, raw meat, seafood, and eggs. Infection comes from eating or drinking contaminated products. Once in the body, the germs go to the bowels where they grow and start to cause problems.

Some reptiles, such as turtles or iguanas, can also pass it to you.

Stomach and Intestines
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Risk Factors

Your risk is higher if you:

  • Eat raw or poorly cooked meat, poultry, eggs, fish, or seafood
  • Eat or drink unpasteurized dairy products
  • Drink unclean water
  • Work with reptiles
  • Have low levels of stomach acid
  • Take stomach acid reducers
  • Have weak immunity from illness or medicines

Symptoms

The infection may cause:

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

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms, and health and travel history. They will ask you about any food you ate or any animals you touched. The doctor may think you have food poisoning from your answers and a physical exam. If needed, blood or stool tests will confirm a diagnosis.

Treatment

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

  • Rehydration—may be given through an IV or taken by mouth
  • Medicines to lower fever and ease pain
  • Antibiotics—in certain cases such as a blood infection

Prevention

To lower your chances of food poisoning:

  • Wash your 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.
  • Don’t eat or drink unpasteurized dairy products.
  • Cook foods as advised. Consider using a thermometer.
  • Place foods in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
  • Wash your hands after handling reptiles.

RESOURCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  https://www.cdc.gov 

Food Safety—US Department of Health and Human Services  https://www.foodsafety.gov 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

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

Public Health Agency of Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

References

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

Salmonella. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/. Updated April 16, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2018.

Nontyphoidal Salmonella infections. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/gram-negative-bacilli/nontyphoidal-salmonella-infections. Updated April 2018. Accessed May 23, 2018.

Nontyphoidal salmonellosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113807/Nontyphoidal-salmonellosis  . Updated March 16, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2018.

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