Salmonella is responsible for much of the food poisoning in the world including approximately 1.5 million cases in the United States annually. Salmonella lives in the intestinal tracts of humans and animals including birds. Humans are usually infected as a result of contact with feces. Often times the food even looks and smells normal and the contamination is usually not visible. Unfortunately, person to person transmission occurs when the infected person’s feces from typically unwashed hands contaminates food during preparation.
Salmonella can also be acquired directly from animals. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal camping, muscle aches chills, fever and often times dehydration.
Symptoms can appear from as soon as 6 hours to 72 hours after ingesting the bacteria. Persons without symptoms can shed the bacteria in their own stool which is why proper hand washing after toileting is extremely important.
Children and older people as well as people who have had ulcer related conditions or take antacids are more susceptible to salmonella poisoning. A small percentage of the cases result in what is called reactive arthritis, or ‘Reiter’s Syndrome’ as a complication. These cases can also develop inflammation of the urethra and the eyes. It is necessary to make sure one is well hydrated when suffering from salmonella infection because liquids wash the bacteria away, dehydration must be prevented. Pain relievers and fever reducers may help one be more comfortable while infected. Antibiotics can actually prolong the condition. Salmonella can be prevented by cooking food thoroughly and also by proper hand washing.