Salmonella is an intestinal infection caused by Salmonella enterica bacteria. You can become infected by eating foods contaminated with Salmonella or by touching infected pets. In rarer cases, Salmonella infection can also be carried in medical products that were derived from contaminated animals. Before a Salmonella infection can begin, somewhere between 100,000 and 100,000,000 Salmonella enterica bacteria must actually be swallowed. Salmonella bacteria invade the intestinal wall, where they trigger inflammation. They also produce irritating intestinal poisons. In some rare cases, Salmonella bacteria may enter the bloodstream and settle in tissues and organs far away from the intestines. This spread of Salmonella infection is most common in infants, in the elderly, and in patients whose immune defenses are weakened.
After someone has eaten food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, it usually takes 8 to 48 hours for symptoms to begin. Symptoms of Salmonella include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and muscle aches.
You can prevent Salmonella by thoroughly cooking all meats, ground beef, poultry and eggs, and by promptly refrigerating all leftovers. Whenever silverware has touched raw meat, wash these items thoroughly with soap and water. Also, avoid eating eggs that are raw or partially cooked. Frequent hand washing is particularly important, especially after using the rest room.
Doctors do not usually prescribe antibiotics, since patients typically recover on their own in a few days. Since many strains of Salmonella are resistant to one or more antibiotics, a patient may be treated initially with one antibiotic, then switched to a second antibiotic if it doesnt work.
Most patients with Salmonella recover within 5 to 10 days; however, they may continue to pass Salmonella bacteria in their stool for up to 2 months.
Salmonella can be a fatal disease, but in most cases it is lived through. The main two things to do to prevent getting Salmonella is to cook all food thoroughly before eating, and to wash your hands frequently.
Salmonella. Encarta. 1994
www.discoveryhealth.com. Salmonella Infections.
Salmonella The Masshal caventish Encyclopedia of Health. 1989