By: Hanna Core 3B

Scientific Name: Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain LT2

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What Causes Salmonella:

By eating food contaminated with salmonella this can happen in the following ways:

  • Food may be contaminated during food processing or food handling.

  • Food may become contaminated by the unwashed hands of an infected food handler. A frequent cause is a food handler who does not wash his or her hands with soap after using the bathroom.

  • Salmonella may also be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea. You can become infected if you do not wash your hands after contact with these feces.

  • Reptiles, baby chicks and ducklings, and small rodents such as hamsters are particularly likely to carry Salmonella. You should always wash your hands immediately after handling one of these animals, even if the animal is healthy. Adults should also be careful that children wash their hands after handling reptiles, pet turtles, baby chicks or ducklings, or small rodents.

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 Salmonella:

Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, often fevers of 100°F to 102°F (38°C to 39°C), 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. Salmonella infections can have a broad range of illness, from no symptoms to severe illness. But diarrhea and dehydration may be so severe that it is necessary to go to the hospital. Other symptoms may include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, headache and body aches.

Treatments for Salmonella:

Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days and most do not require treatment other than oral fluids. People with severe diarrhea may require rehydration with intravenous fluids. Antibiotic therapy can prolong the duration of excretion of non-typhoidal Salmonella and is recommended only for patients with severe illness (e.g., those with severe diarrhea, high fever, bloodstream infection, or who need hospitalization) or those at risk of severe disease or complications, including young infants, older adults (over 65 years old) and immunocompromised people. Antibiotic resistance is increasing among some Salmonella bacteria; therefore, susceptibility testing can help guide appropriate therapy. Choices for antibiotic therapy for severe infections include fluoroquinolones, third-generation cephalosporins, and ampicillin (for susceptible infections).