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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Common Cold Salmonella Food Poisoning

Salmonella Fast Facts:

salmonella bacteria

How salmonella is spread:
Salmonella infection usually results from undercooked meat or poultry, raw eggs, or contaminated water.

Pet turtles
and other animals can also carry the bacteria.

Bacterial infection can also spread from person-to-person.

Signs & symptoms include:
• watery or bloody diarrhea
• stomach cramps
• vomiting
• fever
• headache
• chills, sweats
• fatigue
• loss of appetite

Medications are available to treat the most debilitating symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Antibiotics may also be prescribed for particularly severe infections.


One of the most common food related illnesses is caused by salmonella bacteria. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1.4 million cases of salmonella poisoning occur in the United States each year.

Salmonella food poisoning occurs when a person consumes food or beverages that are contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

Most often, the bacteria enters the body through ingestion of tainted beef, poultry, eggs, or fish. Fruits and vegetables can also become infected through cross contamination, or when they are placed on the same surface as contaminated foods.

How to prevent salmonella poisoning

Salmonella food poisoning can be prevented through proper hygiene and handling of food. Experts advise that hand washing during and after preparing meal - along with thorough cleaning of cooking utensils and kitchen work spaces to prevent cross contamination - are simple ways to avoid contracting the illness.

Along with the dangers associated with food, pet owners are also warned to wash their hands after handling of turtles, snakes and other reptiles, which are also known to carry the bacteria.

Symptoms & complications of salmonella poisoning

The symptoms of salmonella food poisoning usually occur within 12 to 72 hours of infection. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, headache, muscle aches and chills.

Salmonella usually resolves in 4 to 7 days and may not require treatment. Recovery is normally complete without any adverse lasting effects. If severe dehydration occurs hospitalization may be required to administer intravenous fluids. Severe dehydration is more likely to occur in young children and the elderly.

A complication of salmonella poisoning that may occur is Reiter's syndrome, also known as reactive arthritis. Reiter's syndrome is actually a group of disorders that cause inflammation throughout the body. It can lead to chronic arthritis. The condition can be treated with medication such as anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve symptoms.

Due to the dangers of developing severe symptoms or conditions associated with salmonella food poisoning, anyone who suspects they have eaten contaminated food should seek medical attention promptly.

More information about salmonella food poisoning around the Web:


Food Poisoning Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention - MedicineNet guide with facts & information on salmonella, e-coli and other common sources of food poisoning.

Salmonella - Wikipedia overview with information on common sources of infection, related statistics and resources.

Salmonella Questions and Answers - USDA fact sheet on causes and prevention including food cooking and refrigeration tips.


This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.


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