Salmonellosis (Salmonella enterocolitis) is an infection in the lining of the small intestine caused by Salmonella bacteria. Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameter around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions. They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction reactions using organic sources, and are facultative anaerobes. Salmonella is found world-wide in cold- and warm-blooded animals (including humans), and in the environment.
Salmonella infections are zoonotic and can be transferred between humans and non-human animals. These infections cause illnesses like thypoid fever, paratyphoid fever, and foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonellosis. Salmonellosis is one of the most common types of food poisoning. It is usually contracted from sources such as a) poultry, pork or beef, if the meat is prepared improperly or is infected with the bacteria after preparation; b) infected eggs, egg products, and milk when not prepared, handled or refrigerated properly; c) reptiles, such as turtles, lizards and snakes, which may carry the bacteria on their skin; d) tainted fruits and vegetables; e) family members with recent Salmonella infection; f) weak immune system. Each year approximately 40,000 cases of Salmonellosis are reported in the U.S. It is more common in summer than in winter. The most affected population is patients younger than twenty years old. Symptoms of Salmonellosis include: abdominal pain, chills, diarrhea, fever, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting. The symptoms develop 12 to 72 hours after infection and the illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. (NYS Department of Health) Salmonellosis is diagnosed based on the medical history and a physical exam. A stool culture and blood tests may be done to confirm the diagnoses. The goal of treatment of Salmonellosis is to replace fluids and electrolytes lost by diarrhea. Electrolytes are available without prescription. Antidiarrheal medications are generally not given because they may prolong the infection. People with diarrhea who cannot drink anything due to nausea may need medical attention and intravenous fluids. This is especially true for small children. Fever and aches can be treated with acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Changing diet during diarrhea may help reduce symptoms. This may include avoiding milk products. However, infants should continue to breastfeed and receive electrolyte replacement solution as directed by health care provider. If there are severe symptoms, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
The outcome for treating Salmonellosis is usually positive. In otherwise healthy individuals symptoms should disappear in 2-5 days. However, the acute illness lasts for 1-2 weeks. Dehydration from diarrhea, especially in young children and infants, is a dangerous complication. Life-threatening meningitis and septicemia may also occur. Most infected individuals may return to work or school once their diarrhea has stopped. Food workers, health care personnel and children in daycare must obtain the approval from the local or state health department before returning to their normal work activities. Salmonellosis can be prevented by handling raw food accordingly. Individuals should avoid eating raw eggs and or undercooked meats, drinking unpasteurized milk. On the other hand, individuals are encouraged to wash hands thoroughly throughout the day, as well as wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
Works Cited: Giannella, R.: 2006 Infectious enteritis and proctocolitis and bacterial food poisoning. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; chap 104. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001339/ Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R. 2009. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone New York State Department of Health. Information for a Healthy New York, 2011: Salmonellosis http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/salmonellosis/fact_sheet.htm