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Salmonella Infection: Outbreaks, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

 Posted on April 10, 2023 in Salmonella


Salmonellosis is a common foodborne illness caused by a group of bacteria called Salmonella. You get the infection by eating contaminated food products such as unpasteurized dairy, eggs, beef, and dirty vegetables and fruits or by handling pets, particularly reptiles and birds. Salmonella destroys the cells lining your intestine, making it difficult for your body to absorb water. This can cause typhoid-like fever, stomach pains, and diarrhea. Keep reading to learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of Salmonellosis.

How Can a Person Contract Salmonellosis?

Did you know that the Salmonella bacteria live in the guts of almost every human and animal? However, transmitting the bacteria in higher quantities can cause Salmonella poisoning, leading to diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues. A person can get Salmonellosis by eating, touching, or drinking:

● Untreated water

● Unpasteurized cheese or milk

● Contaminated Vegetables or fruits

● Egg shells or raw eggs

● Poultry, seafood, and raw red meat

● The feathers, skin, poop, and scales of animals, including amphibians (toads and frogs), pets (cats, dogs, birds, and small animals), farm animals (pigs, sheep, goats, and cows), birds (ducks, chicken, and turkey), reptiles (snakes, lizards, and turtles)

People at a high risk of Salmonellosis work or live around animals, take antacids, live with IDB (inflammatory bowel disease), have sickle cell disease, have a weak immune system, and are under 12 months or over the age of 65.

Common Causes of Salmonella Outbreaks

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, approximately 1.35 million people get Salmonellosis every year, which includes 26,500 hospitalizations and 420 deaths annually. Throughout history, there have been several outbreaks of Salmonella infection. Most of these were caused due to contaminated peanut butter, fish, alfalfa sprouts, frozen produce and food, and packaged meats. On the other hand, Salmonella outbreaks caused by contact with animals include guinea pigs, hedgehogs, chickens, lizards, and turtles.

Is Salmonellosis Contagious?

Yes, the Salmonella infection is contagious and cannot only spread from one person to another but also from an animal to a person. If you are infected with Salmonellosis, forget to wash your hands after using the restroom or touching surfaces. At the same time, when you are sick, you can easily transmit the bacteria onto the food and things in your house, spreading the Salmonella bacteria to other people.

What Are the Symptoms of the Salmonella Infection?

The symptoms of Salmonellosis can appear anywhere from 6 hours to 6 days after exposure to the bacteria. Salmonella can affect your intestines (GI tract) and stomach, causing the following symptoms:

● Diarrhea (can be bloody sometimes)

● Headache

● Chills

● Vomiting and nausea

● Cramps or stomach pain

● Fever

Note that these Salmonella symptoms can last for up to 4 to 10 days, depending on the infection's severity. The bacteria can cause infection in the nervous system (brain and spinal fluid), joints, bones, blood, and even urine.

What Is the Treatment for Salmonellosis?

Salmonellosis is diagnosed with a test of your blood, stool, or urine sample. The healthcare provider will also conduct a physical examination and will ask you about your symptoms and your medical history.

Typically, Salmonella is not treated with medication. Your healthcare provider will only ask you to take antibiotics if you are at a high risk of complications if the Salmonella infection is severe. The antibiotics prescribed for Salmonellosis include Azithromycin, Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX), Ceftriaxone, and Ciprofloxacin. In case you have severe diarrhea, the doctor might ask you to get hospitalized to minimize the risk of dehydration.

The best way to manage the Salmonellosis symptoms is to drink plenty of water and fluids such as sports drinks, broth, 100% fruit juices, and oral rehydration solutions. While the healthcare provider might give adults over-the-counter medications like bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol) and loperamide (Imodium) to help with diarrhea, you must never give such medications to infants or children with Salmonella. Remember that with adequate care and proper rest, Salmonellosis will disappear on its own within a few days.

Salmonella Infection | Prevention Tips

Want to protect yourself and your family from Salmonellosis? Here are some prevention tips to help you out:

Safe Food Preparation:

● Wash your hands with soap and water before and after cooking or eating.

● Wash your hands after using the bathroom

● Don’t cook food for others if you are sick.

● Never drink untreated water. If you are traveling, use bottled water for cooking and drinking.

● Do not drink unpasteurized milk or eat food made using unpasteurized milk.

● Refrigerated seafood, poultry items, and meat immediately.

● Don't touch any other food item when handling poultry, eggs, seafood, or raw meat.

● Make sure to cook the food at a safe temperature.

● Wash the utensils and eating surfaces properly before and after eating.

Safe Animal Handling:

Any animal can have the Salmonella bacteria and transmit it to you. Lizards, turtles, ducks, and chickens are at a higher risk of spreading foodborne illnesses. Make sure to follow the below-mentioned tips to reduce the risk of getting Salmonellosis:

● After touching animals, never put your hand in your mouth, touch your lips, or eat something.

● Never kiss the animal's skin, feathers, scales, or fur.

● Always wash your hands with soap and water after cleaning their poop, giving them food, or simply touching the furry creatures.

● Do not drink or eat around the animals.

● If you are older than 65 or have a weak immune system, don’t touch animals.

● Properly maintain your pet’s cage, room, or aquarium. Also, never use your household bowls or toys inside the pet’s habitat.

Hire the Best Salmonellosis Attorney from Newland & Newland, LLP

With over one million cases annually, Salmonella is a very common foodborne illness that can result in severe dehydration, osteomyelitis, reactive arthritis, and bacteremia if not treated properly. The attorneys at Newland & Newland, LLP will help you ensure that the party at fault is held accountable for their negligence and that you get compensated for the missed days at work, hefty medical bills, and mental anguish. Contact us to hire a Salmonellosis attorney in Illinois today!

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