How can Salmonella infections be treated?
Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days and
often do not require treatment other than oral fluids.
Persons with severe diarrhea may require rehydration with
intravenous fluids. Antibiotics, such as ampicillin,
trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, or ciprofloxacin, are not
usually necessary unless the infection spreads from the
intestines. Some Salmonella bacteria have become resistant
to antibiotics, largely as a result of the use of
antibiotics to promote the growth of food animals.
For informational purposes only. Consult
your Doctor. This information was taken from Department
of Health and Human Services: Centers for Disease Control and
Are there long term
consequences to a Salmonella infection?
Persons with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it
may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely
normal. A small number of persons with Salmonella develop pain
in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful
urination. This is called Reiter's syndrome. It can last for
months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis which is
difficult to treat. Antibiotic treatment does not make a
difference in whether or not the person develops arthritis.
How do people catch Salmonella?
Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of humans and other
animals, including birds. Salmonella are usually transmitted
to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces.
Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal. Contaminated
foods are often of animal origin, such as beef, poultry, milk,
or eggs, but any food, including vegetables, may become
contaminated. Thorough cooking kills Salmonella. Food may also
become contaminated by the hands of an infected food handler
who did not wash hands with soap after using the bathroom.
Salmonella may also be found in the feces of some pets,
especially those with diarrhea, and people can become infected
if they do not wash their hands after contact with pets or pet
feces. Reptiles, such as turtles, lizards, and snakes, are
particularly likely to harbor Salmonella. Many chicks and
young birds carry Salmonella in their feces. People should
always wash their hands immediately after handling a reptile
or bird, even if the animal is healthy. Adults should also
assure that children wash their hands after handling a reptile
or bird, or after touching its environment.
What can a person do to prevent this illness?
There is no vaccine to prevent salmonellosis. Because foods of
animal origin may be contaminated with Salmonella, people
should not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat. Raw
eggs may be unrecognized in some foods, such as homemade
Hollandaise sauce, Caesar and other homemade salad dressings,
tiramisu, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, cookie
dough, and frostings. Poultry and meat, including hamburgers,
should be well-cooked, not pink in the middle. Persons also
should not consume raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy
products. Produce should be thoroughly washed.
Cross-contamination of foods should be avoided. Uncooked meats
should be kept separate from produce, cooked foods, and
ready-to-eat foods. Hands, cutting boards, counters, knives,
and other utensils should be washed thoroughly after touching
uncooked foods. Hand should be washed before handling food,
and between handling different food items.