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Salmonellosis is a type of
food poisoning caused by the Salmonella enterica bacterium.
There are many different kinds of these bacteria. Salmonella serotype Typhimurium and Salmonella serotype Enteritidis are the
most common types in the United States.
Salmonellosis is more common
in the summer than in the winter. Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. Young children, older adults, and people who have
impaired immune systems are the most likely to have
You can get
salmonellosis by eating food contaminated with salmonella. This can happen in
the following ways:
Beef, poultry, milk, and eggs are most often infected
with salmonella. But vegetables may also be contaminated. Contaminated foods
usually look and smell normal.
Symptoms of salmonellosis
include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. They develop 12 to 72 hours
after infection, and the illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover
without treatment. But diarrhea and dehydration may be so severe that it is
necessary to go to the hospital. Older adults, infants, and those who have impaired
immune systems are at highest risk.
If you only have diarrhea, you
usually recover completely, although it may be several months before your bowel
habits are entirely normal. A small number of people who are infected with
Reiter's syndrome, a disease that can last for months
or years and can lead to chronic
diagnosed based on a medical history and a physical exam. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms, foods you have
recently eaten, and your work and home environments. A stool culture and blood
tests may be done to confirm the diagnosis.
You treat salmonellosis by
managing any complications until it passes.
Dehydration caused by diarrhea is the most common
complication. Antibiotics are not usually needed unless the infection has
To prevent dehydration, take frequent sips of a
rehydration drink (such as Pedialyte). Try to drink a
cup of water or rehydration drink for each large, loose stool you have. Soda and fruit juices have too much
sugar and not enough of the important
electrolytes that are lost during diarrhea, and they
should not be used to rehydrate.
Try to stay with your usual diet
as much as possible. Eating your usual diet will help you to get enough
nutrition. Doctors believe that eating a normal diet will also help you feel
better faster. But try to avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar. Also
avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and coffee for 2 days after all symptoms have
October 18, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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