Salmonellosis is a foodborne illness caused by infection with Salmonella bacteria. Most infections are spread to people through consumption of contaminated food (usually meat, poultry, eggs, or milk).
Salmonella infections affect the intestines and cause vomiting, fever, and cramping, which usually clear up without medical treatment.
You can help prevent Salmonella infections by not serving any raw meat or eggs, and by not keeping reptiles as pets, particularly if you have very young children.
Hand washing is a powerful way to guard against Salmonella infections. So teach kids to wash their hands, particularly after trips to the bathroom and before handling food in any way.
Not everyone who ingests Salmonella bacteria will become ill. Children, especially infants, are most likely to get sick from it. About 50,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the United States each year and about a third of those are in kids 4 years old or younger.
There are many different types of Salmonella bacteria. The type responsible for most infections in humans is carried by chickens, cows, pigs, and reptiles (such as turtles, lizards, and iguanas). Another, rarer form — called Salmonella Typhi (S.Typhi) — causes typhoid fever. People usually get typhoid fever by drinking beverages or eating food that has been handled by someone who has typhoid fever or is a carrier of the illness. Most cases are in developing countries where clean water and other sanitation measures are hard to come by.
A Salmonella infection generally causes nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever, and headache. Because many different kinds of illnesses can cause these symptoms, most doctors will take a stool sample to make an accurate diagnosis.
Symptoms of most infections start within 3 days of contamination and usually go away without medical treatment.
At first, typhoid fever caused by Salmonella bacteria looks similar to infections by non-typhoid Salmonella. But in the second week, the liver and spleen can become enlarged, and a distinctive "rose spotted" skin rash may appear. From there, the infection can cause other health problems, like meningitis and pneumonia.
People at risk for more serious complications from a Salmonella infection include those who:
In these higher-risk groups, most doctors will treat an infection with antibiotics to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body.
Here are some ways to help prevent Salmonella bacteria from making your family sick:
If your child has salmonellosis and a healthy immune system, your doctor may let the infection pass without giving any medicines. But any time a child develops a fever, headache, or bloody diarrhea, call the doctor to rule out any other problems.
If your child is infected and has a fever, you may want to give acetaminophen to reduce his or her temperature and relieve cramping. As with any infection that causes diarrhea, it's important to give your child plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration.
Reviewed by: Rupal Christine Gupta, MD
Date reviewed: August 2014
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.|
|U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.|
|CDC: Travelers' Health Look up vaccination requirements for travel destinations, get updates on international outbreaks, and more, searachable by country.|
|U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) The USDA works to enhance the quality of life for people by supporting the production of agriculture.|
|E. Coli Undercooked burgers and unwashed produce are among the foods that can harbor E. coli bacteria and lead to infection marked by severe diarrhea. Here's how to protect your family.|
|Yersiniosis Yersiniosis is an uncommon infection caused by the consumption of undercooked meat products, unpasteurized milk, or water contaminated by the bacteria.|
|Food Safety for Your Family Why is food safety important? And how can you be sure your kitchen and the foods you prepare in it are safe?|
|Why Is Hand Washing So Important? Did you know that proper hand washing is the best way to keep from getting sick? Here's how to teach this all-important habit to your kids.|
|Campylobacter Infections These bacterial infections can cause diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever. Good hand-washing and food safety habits can prevent them.|
|Food Poisoning The germs that get into food and cause food poisoning are tiny, but can have a powerful effect on the body. Find out what to do if you get food poisoning - and how to prevent it.|
|Food Poisoning Sometimes, germs can get into food and cause food poisoning. Find out what to do if your child gets food poisoning - and how to prevent it.|
|Food Poisoning Did you ever eat something that made you feel ooky? It might have been food poisoning.|
|Gastrointestinal Infections and Diarrhea Nearly everybody gets diarrhea every once in a while, and it's usually caused by gastrointestinal infections. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. Read this article to learn more.|
|Being Safe in the Kitchen Cooking and baking are lots of fun - as long as you stay safe. Read this article for safety tips before you head into the kitchen.|
|What Are Germs? Germs are the microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that can cause disease. With a little prevention, you can keep harmful germs out of your family's way.|
|E. Coli Undercooked burgers and unwashed produce are among the foods that can harbor E. coli bacteria and lead to infection and severe diarrhea. Here's how to protect yourself.|
|Typhoid Fever While typhoid fever isn't common in the U.S., it can be a health threat elsewhere. Learn about this illness and how to prevent it.|
|Why Should I Care About Germs? Germs are tiny organisms that can cause disease - and they're so small that they can creep into your system without you noticing. Find out how to protect yourself.|
|Stool Test: Bacteria Culture A stool culture helps doctors determine if there's a bacterial infection in the intestines.|
|Produce Precautions Kids need daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Here's how to make sure the produce you buy and prepare is safe.|
|Salmonellosis People often think of salmonellosis as food poisoning, but food is only one way the bacteria Salmonella can be spread.|
|E. Coli E. coli is a common type of bacteria that can make you pretty sick. Read more in this article for kids.|
|Salmonellosis Salmonellosis is an illness caused by a bacteria found in raw food, soil, water and the bowel movements of some animals, including reptiles. Find out how to prevent this illness.|
|Listeria Infections Listeriosis, a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with a bacterium, primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. Some simple precautions can protect your family from infection.|
|Fever and Taking Your Child's Temperature Although it can be frightening when your child's temperature rises, fever itself causes no harm and can actually be a good thing - it's often the body's way of fighting infections.|
|Diarrhea Most kids battle diarrhea from time to time, so it's important to know what to do to relieve and even prevent it.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.