Food Safety Insider
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SALMONELLA
Salmonella is the most commonly reported cause of foodborne illness.
The Food Safety Insider has answers to your most frequently asked questions about Salmonella. Do you have other questions? Contact us below and we’ll respond right back.
Here are frequently asked questions about Salmonella.
Salmonella bacteria are the most frequently reported cause of foodborne illness.
Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrheal illness in humans. They are microscopic bacteria that are passed from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals.
If food is contaminated with salmonella, it does not usually affect the taste, smell or appearance of the food. The salmonella bacteria live in the intestinal tracts of infected animals and humans.
Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
People infected with salmonella can experience diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 8 to 72 hours after the contaminated food was eaten.
Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
Symptoms usually disappear within 4 to 7 days.
Many people with salmonellosis recover without treatment and may never see a doctor.
Salmonella infections can be life-threatening especially for infants and young children, pregnant women and their unborn babies, and older adults, who are at a higher risk for foodborne illness, as are people with weakened immune systems (such as those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients).
In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
Yes, there can be.
Persons with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal.
A small number of persons who are infected with Salmonella may develop pains in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination.
This is called Reiter’s syndrome.
It can last for months or years and can lead to chronic arthritis that is difficult to treat.
Salmonella lives in the intestinal tract of humans and other animals, including birds.
Salmonella is usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces.
Salmonella can cause foodborne illness (salmonellosis) through cross-contamination, e.g., when juices from raw meat or poultry come in contact with ready-to-eat foods, such as salads.
Food may also become contaminated by the unwashed hands of an infected food handler who might or might not be showing symptoms.
Salmonella can also be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea.
People can become infected if they do not wash their hands after contact with these feces.
Reptiles are particularly likely to harbor Salmonella.
People should always wash their hands immediately after handling a reptile, even if the reptile is healthy.
Any raw food of animal origin, such as meat, poultry, milk and dairy products, eggs, seafood, and some fruits and vegetables may carry Salmonella bacteria.
The bacteria can survive to cause illness if meat, poultry, and egg products are not cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer and fruits and vegetables are not thoroughly washed.
The bacteria can also contaminate other foods that come in contact with raw meat and poultry.
Safe food handling practices are necessary to prevent bacteria on raw food from causing illness.