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
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Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of 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
  • A compromised immune system, such as in:
    • Elderlypersons
    • Infants
    • People with HIV/AIDS
    • People with low stomach acidity, such as those who take medication that reduces stomach acid

Symptoms

Salmonellosis may cause:
  • 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.

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