Diseases & Conditions


SalmonellaCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella belongs to a genus of Gram-negative, non-spore forming rod-shaped, motile enterobacteria. Salmonella get the necessary energy by means of oxidation as well as reduction reactions with the help of organic sources. Salmonella infections tends to be zoonotic in the sense that they are liable to be shifted between nonhuman animals and humans.

Salmonella bacterium causes the disease salmonellosis which is a kind of food posioning. There are many different kinds of these bacteria; Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella enteritidis are the most common types in the United States.

Causes of salmonella infection

Salmonella infections are contracted from the following sources:

  • Cattle, pork and poultry. Infections occur if such meat is cooked incorrectly or it gets infected with nontyphoidal salmonella after the preparation.
  • Infected eggs, milk or egg products that is not refrigerated, prepared, or handled, properly.
  • Reptiles like lizards, snakes and turtles can carry the salmonella on the skin.
  • Pet rodents.
  • Tainted vegetables and fruits.
  • Food can get contaminated if infected food handlers do not wash their hands with soap, especially after using the toilet.
  • Feces of certain pets, particularly the ones with diarrhea can contain salmonella If one comes into contact with such feces and refrain from washing hands afterwards, one can be infected with salmonella.
  • Reptiles, ducklings and baby chicks as well as small rodents like hamsters are all potential carriers of salmonella.One must wash one’s hands right after handling any of such animals, even if they are healthy. Adults should ensure that children too wash their hands immediately after handling these birds and animals.

Medication for salmonellosis

No medication is necessary in the treatment of salmonellosis. However, appropriate antibiotics are needed only if salmonellosis becomes severe or infection has spread.

Prevention of salmonellosis

To prevent salminellosis infections follow these steps:

  • Avoid undercooked or raw eggs, meat and poultry
  • Consume only pasteurized dairy products and milk
  • Wash thoroughly all vegetable and fruits
  • Ideal food preparation and dining habits
  • Washing of hands after handling pets as well as their feces
  • Ensure the children wash their hands too after handling animals and feces

Risk factors of salmonellosis

Following salmonella infections a condition termed Reiter’s syndrome or reactive arthritis can develop. Reiter’s syndrome might last for a long time and might lead a patient to the condition termed chronic arthritis. Osteomyelitis and sickle cell anemia can occur as a result of salmonella infection.

Symptoms of Salmonellosis

Diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever are the common symptoms of salmonellosis. These symptoms become obvious 12 – 72 hours following the infection. Usually, salmonellosis lasts anywhere between 4 – 7 days. Most of the patients can recover without any treatment to speak of. However, if diarrhea and the accompanying dehydration become really severe, it is then necessary to proceed to a hospital immediately. People with their immune systems impaired, infants and older adults tend to be at the highest risk. Those patients who have only diarrhea can usually get well completely, although it might take many months for their bowel habits become fully normal.

Treatment for salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is treated by effectively managing all potential complications until they pass. Dehydration due to diarrhea remains the most prevalent complication of salmonella infection. It is better to take sips of rehydration drinks like Pedialite, Rehydralyte or Lytren, frequently. For every loose stool one has, one should drink a rehydration drink or a small glass of water. Sports drinks like Gatorade can also be used for this purpose. Fruit juices and soda contain excess sugar but only insufficient amounts of the more important electrolytes lost during periods of diarrhea and so should be avoided.

It is better to stay with one’s normal diet. This will enable one to obtain sufficient nutrition from one’s diet. Eating normal diet can help one to feel better more quickly. However, avoid consuming coffee, alcohol and spicy foods for at least two days following the disappearance of all salmonellosis symptoms.

Types of salmonella

There are a lot of different kinds of simonell bacterium. A distinction exists between two kinds of simonella: typhoid/paratyphoid salmonella and enteritis salmonella. The former contains within itself a particular virulence factor along with a virulence antigen called capsule protein that can develop serious illness. Then there are also nontyphiodal salmonella and typhoidal salmonella. It is the nontyphoidal that causes infections in human beings.