Salmonella infections are diarrheal infections caused by the bacteria Salmonella. The Salmonella germ is actually a group of bacteria that can cause diarrheal illness in humans. There are many different kinds of Salmonella bacteria.
Salmonella are transmitted from feces of people or animals to other people or animals. Contaminated foods are often animal in origin, such as beef, poultry, seafood, milk, or eggs. However, all foods, including some unwashed fruits and vegetables can become contaminated.
The following are the most common symptoms of Salmonella infections. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps eight to 72 hours after infection. Other symptoms may include chills, headache, nausea, or vomiting.
The symptoms of Salmonella infections may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.
Since many different illnesses have symptoms similar to Salmonella infections, diagnosis depends on laboratory tests that identify Salmonella in the stools.
These infections generally run their course in four to seven days and often no further treatment is required. However, patients with severe diarrhea may need rehydration with intravenous fluids. If the infection spreads from the intestines to the blood stream, prompt treatment with antibiotics will be necessary.
Specific treatment for Salmonella infections will be determined by your health care provider based on:
Since foods of animal origin pose the greatest threat of Salmonella contamination, do not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, seafood, or meats. Remember that some sauces and desserts use raw eggs in their preparation, so be cautious of these, particularly in foreign countries. Also, follow these recommendations by the CDC:
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