Salmonella

Salmonella

• Salmonella is a bacterium which is one of the most common causes of food poisoning world-wide. The bacterium are found particularly in poultry, eggs, unprocessed milk, meat and water. They can also be carried by pets such as turtles and birds.

• After contaminated food has been consumed, symptoms usually occur within 8 and 24 hours; it can range from 4 to 48 hours.

• Symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever. In some cases, diarrhoea can be so severe that hospitalisation for re-hydration may be necessary. In rare cases (particularly in the elderly or the very young) infection may result in very severe illness or even death.

• Diagnosis of infection can be made through laboratory testing of a stool sample. Many people usually recover completely but some will go on to develop conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and joint pain, irritation of the eyes and painful urination known as Reiter's Syndrome leading to chronic arthritis. Treatment is usually with antibiotics.

• Bacteria causing Salmonella can be transmitted by cross contamination of food caused by poor hygiene and catering practices, or by contamination from infected faeces.