What is salmonellosis?
Salmonellosis is a foodborne infection caused by salmonella bacteria.
Symptoms include sudden stomach pain, accompanied by diarrhea, nausea, fever and sometimes vomiting. Dehydration, especially among infants, may be severe.
Although death is uncommon, the infection is more dangerous when it occurs in young children, the elderly or those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms usually appear 12 to 36 hours after ingestion of the bacteria, and illness may last anywhere from several days to several weeks.
How is salmonellosis spread?
Salmonella bacteria is found in the feces of wild and domestic animals, particularly chickens, pigs, cows, turtles, dogs, cats and rodents. The bacteria may be found in certain foods such as raw milk, raw eggs and uncooked chicken or meats.
Infected people can also be a source of the infection.
Illness usually occurs after people eat or drink foods contaminated with salmonella bacteria. In addition, the bacteria can spread from one food product to another. This happens if utensils or counter-tops used to prepare foods are re-used without being properly cleaned and sanitized first.
People may become infected if they handle contaminated pets, animals or foods and don’t wash their hands thoroughly after.
Certain conditions make it easy for the bacteria to grow. One of the most common is storing potentially hazardous foods at temperatures between 5°C and 60°C, which is considered the danger zone. Undercooking meats allows the bacteria to survive and multiply.
How is salmonellosis prevented?
- Thorough handwashing is the best prevention. Make sure hands are properly washed after using the toilet, handling pets and before preparing foods.
- Clean and sanitize counter-tops and utensils immediately after preparing food, especially meat and chicken.
- Have separate cutting boards for raw and cooked meats.
- Drink only pasteurized milk.
- Store and serve foods out of the danger zone temperatures (5°C to 60°C).
- Make sure dairy products, meats and poultry are properly refrigerated at 4°C or lower.
- Cook poultry and meats thoroughly.
- Avoid using raw eggs, as in eggnogs or homemade ice cream, and never use dirty or cracked eggs.
- Don’t prepare food if you have diarrhea.
- Remember that turtles, chicks and ducks may be carriers of salmonella, and are not suitable pets for children.
For more information on salmonella, call 705.522.9200 or toll-free at 1.866.522.9200.