Learn More About Salmonella Infections

salmonellaInfections such as Salmonella are more common during summer months. This may be due to higher temperatures and frequent gatherings and events, in which large outbreaks are not uncommon.
Salmonella is a bacteria that typically causes acute diarrhea, abdominal cramping, vomiting, headache and fever. The illness usually lasts 3 to 7 days and most people recover without treatment, although dehydration is common.
Transmission often occurs through the consumption of foods, mainly ...of animal origin (undercooked meats and eggs, unpasteurized milk and cheese products) contaminated with animal feces. However all foods including fruits, vegetables and water can become contaminated.
Contact with animals or their habitats have also been noted as a common transmission source. Animals such as pet turtles, fish, and mammals such as puppies, kittens and petting zoo exposures are possible sources of salmonella infections.
Person to person transmission can also occur since the organism is shed in the ill persons stool. This is why proper handwashing is so important to prevent spread of the bacteria. Salmonella bacteria can often be shed in the stool for weeks after an infection, even after diarrhea symptoms have resolved. Salmonella bacteria can also survive on surfaces such as doorknobs, railings, tables, phones, keyboards and toys for up to three hours. Thorough handwashing and disinfection of surfaces is very important in prevention of Salmonella infections. In some occupations including food handling and childcare, negative stool cultures must be obtained before returning to work.
If you or a family member experience these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. It is important for proper diagnosis and to have laboratory testing of stool specimens.