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Food and Health -- >
For informational purposes only. Consult
your Doctor. This information was taken from Department
of Health and Human Services: Centers for Disease Control and
How common is
Every year, approximately 40,000 cases of salmonellosis are
reported in the United States. Because many milder cases are
not diagnosed or reported, the actual number of infections may
be thirty or more times greater. Salmonellosis is more common
in the summer than winter.
Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of
diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is
about five times higher than the rate in all other persons.
Young children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised are the
most likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that
approximately 400 persons die each year with acute
What else can be done to prevent salmonellosis?
It is important for the public health department to know about
cases of salmonellosis. It is important for clinical
laboratories to send isolates of Salmonella to the City,
County, or State Public Health Laboratories so the specific
type can be determined and compared with other Salmonella in
the community. If many cases occur at the same time, it may
mean that a restaurant, food or water supply has a problem
that needs correction by the public health department.
Some prevention steps occur everyday without you thinking
about it. Pasteurization of milk and treatment of municipal
water supplies are highly effective prevention measures that
have been in place for decades. In the 1970s, small pet
turtles were a common source of salmonellosis in the United
States, so in 1975, the sale of small turtles was banned in
this country. However, in 2008, they were still being sold,
and cases of Salmonella associated with pet turtles have been
reported. Improvements in farm animal hygiene, in slaughter
plant practices, and in vegetable and fruit harvesting and
packing operations may help prevent salmonellosis caused by
contaminated foods. Better education of food industry workers
in basic food safety and restaurant inspection procedures may
prevent cross-contamination and other food handling errors
that can lead to outbreaks. Wider use of pasteurized egg in
restaurants, hospitals, and nursing homes is an important
prevention measure. In the future, irradiation or other
treatments may greatly reduce contamination of raw meat.
|What is the government
doing about salmonellosis?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
monitors the frequency of Salmonella infections in the
country and assists the local and state health departments
in investigating outbreaks and devising control measures.
CDC also monitors the different types of Salmonella that
are reported annually by public health laboratories of
state and local health departments. The Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) inspects imported foods, oversees
inspection of milk pasteurization plants, promotes better
food preparation techniques in restaurants and food
processing plants, and regulates the sale of turtles. The
FDA also regulates the use of specific antibiotics as
growth promotants in food animals. The US Department of
Agriculture monitors the health of food animals, inspects
egg pasteurization plants, and is responsible for the
quality of slaughtered and processed meat. The US
Environmental Protection Agency regulates and monitors the
safety of drinking water supplies.
How can I learn more about this and other public health
You can discuss any medical concerns you may have with
your doctor or other heath care provider. Your local City
or County Health Department can provide more information
about this and other public health problems that are
occurring in your area. General information about the
public health of the nation is published every week in the
"Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)", by the CDC
in Atlanta, GA. Every spring, the MMWR publishes a report
of the incidence of Salmonella and other infections during
the previous year in FoodNet sentinel surveillance sites.
Epidemiologists in your local and state health departments
are tracking many important public health problems,
investigating special problems that arise, and helping to
prevent them from occurring in the first place, and from
spreading, when they occur.