Salmonellosis is an illness caused by Salmonella bacteria. There are more than 2,000 serotypes of Salmonella bacteria that can make people sick. Because there are so many serotypes, illness does not result in immunity.
Anyone of any age can become infected with Salmonella bacteria, but children, especially those less than 5 years old, are the most likely to become ill.
People typically become infected by eating contaminated food or by having contact with an infected person or animal. Common sources of infection are raw or undercooked poultry, eggs, sprouts, and unpasteurized juice. Fresh fruits and vegetables also can become contaminated with Salmonella. Other sources include contact with infected pets and livestock, such as cats, cattle, reptiles (including turtles, frogs, lizards and snakes), and poultry (including chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys).
Infection with salmonella bacteria causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and fever.
Symptoms begin one to three days after being infected. Illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. Young children, the elderly, and those who are immune-compromised, are the most likely to have severe infections.
Passing infection to another person is possible as long as bacteria are being shed in the stool. Anyone, especially a young child, may shed the bacteria for weeks to months. Those who have been treated with oral antibiotics tend to shed the bacteria longer, so use of antibiotics is based on the severity of the illness. Excellent hand washing is helpful in preventing the spread of illness.
There is no vaccine available to prevent salmonellosis.
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