Salmonella: Causes, Symptoms, Complications, Treatment, and Prevention

Salmonella is the type of bacteria found in raw chicken, raw eggs and undercooked beef, among other foods.

Illness from these Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, and usually lasts four to seven days. Most people recover on their own. In some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can cause death unless the patient is treated promptly with antibiotics.

How Common Is Salmonella?

Salmonella infections are very common, especially during the winter, spring and summer months. More than 1.2 million salmonella infections occur in the United States each year, and about 450 people die each year due to food-borne salmonella. E. coli is a bacterium that causes infections in humans and animals alike.

This year the CDC is continuing to emphasize the importance of washing hands, cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding cross-contamination during food preparation. It’s also important for consumers to remember not to drink unpasteurized milk and juices.

Salmonella Causes

People and animals can carry salmonella in their mouths or intestines without becoming ill.

It often spread through contaminated foods, but outbreaks are generally caused when dog feces contaminate food or when people don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.

Infections caused by salmonella can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever. In rare cases the infection can be fatal.

You can also get salmonella directly through eating a raw food item that is contaminated with the bacteria or through drinking water sources contaminated with the bacteria.

Contaminated Maize Grains

The bacteria have also been found on the surfaces of eggs, raw milk, produce, poultry, and even on whole grains.

Foodborne illnesses linked to eggs are estimated to result in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths every year, according to the CDC.

Some contaminated eggs have been linked to salmonella

Symptoms usually begin 12 to 72 hours after consuming the contaminated food, but can appear as early as six hours after ingestion.

It can include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Severe cases can include symptoms such as dehydration and blood pressure issues.

Anyone who has been infected with the bacteria can develop symptoms anywhere from two to 70 days after ingesting the bacteria.

The FDA recommends thoroughly cooking eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Risk Factors of Salmonella Infection

Children, especially those under 5, are more likely than adults to get sick from salmonella infections, according to the CDC, which adds that illness from salmonella is most common in young children, adults older than 65 and people with weakened immune systems.

Salmonella is more common in places with poor sanitation. It is harmful to young children, elderly people and people with weak immune systems.

The bacteria can be found in the intestines of animals and people, but cannot be spread between humans.

To reduce the risk of salmonella, the department advises the following:

  • Do not eat under-cooked meat of any age and always handle raw meat carefully.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before preparing, cooking, eating or handling food. If you are sick, tell your healthcare provider and keep food and foods prepared by anyone under your care at home until you are well.
  • Do not eat foods that need to be cooked to be safe, such as raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook meat and poultry thoroughly and use a food thermometer.
  • Separate raw and cooked meat, poultry and seafood, especially if using a Crock Pot.
  • Cook ground beef and other meats separately.
  • Cook eggs and let them sit at room temperature until you’re ready to serve them. Do not scramble, because the shell may still contain salmonella.
  • Do not eat foods that contain gravy.
  • Check for yourself or others who show signs of being sick and contact a healthcare provider if they are not better after seven days of symptoms.

Salmonella Poisoning Symptoms

Most of the signs and symptoms of a salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. It typically takes an average of two to seven days to become ill. The most effective way to prevent salmonella is through good hand washing. Additionally, all food-contact surfaces should be thoroughly washed, including the cutting boards that are often used for raw meats and poultry.

The signs and symptoms of a salmonella infection are usually mild, but in rare cases they can be severe. It is important to note, that salmonella is present in a large number of foods consumed daily. Eggs, meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, herbs and spices are often the sources of salmonella contamination. Some of these foods are no longer commonly consumed, such as raw milk.

If you are sickened with the disease, your body may have an initial infection which is usually no worse than a common cold. Within a few days, your salmonella infection may cause fever, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort. Many people do not get any symptoms at all. If you experience more serious symptoms such as rashes, diarrhea, joint pain, headache, body aches, or seizures, contact your health care provider.

Heat your Food

Salmonella bacteria that live in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals are not killed in cooking poultry or eggs. Some salmonella are killed when the bacteria are killed by heat; such foods as fresh or frozen raw ground beef, milk, and salads were all recalled this year because of salmonella bacteria.

Chickens often develop illnesses related to intestinal parasites or bacteria, but we do not know the source of these illnesses. They can be mild and cause intestinal discomfort, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Salmonella is usually associated with broiler chicken products such as whole chickens, frozen whole chickens, raw turkey, ground poultry, and raw pet food. Also, many cases in the United States are associated with under-cooked poultry products such as chicken, turkey, or duck, especially homemade chicken soup or casseroles.

Always follow the cooking instructions on packaging for these products

Additionally, if you cook poultry or eggs on the stove, use a meat thermometer to make sure that the chicken is cooked through and the eggs are thoroughly cooked. Always handle raw poultry, meat, and eggs with care. If you are ill, do not handle food or perform any other tasks where you may come in contact with raw poultry or meat.

To prevent cross-contamination, wash hands before and after handling food

Most cases of Salmonella will resolve within a week or two without treatment. In some cases, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In such cases, the condition may be life-threatening because the person may need to go to the bathroom a lot.

Immunization with the bacterium salmonella is given routinely in infants, but immunization is not needed for adults. For those who do not have immunity to the disease, the vaccine may protect against severe illness and may lessen the severity of symptoms.

When to see a Doctor

See your doctor if you’re still having general symptoms from salmonella infection , including diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, which could last from four to seven days. This is particularly true if you also develop the following signs: Hives or rashes

  • Blood in the stool or stools
  • Blood in the vomit
  • Diarrhea with very low back-up after taking antibiotics
  • Fever of 100.4F (38C) or higher
  • Thirst

Dizziness, feeling light-headed or having a sense that you may pass out

Is it safe to eat pork?

It may be that you haven’t got salmonella at all.

Salmonella is quite common. However, the Food Standards Agency in the UK says pork infected with salmonella is usually more dangerous than produce that has been heated to kill bacteria.

In the worst cases, consuming salmonella infected meat can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, vomiting, headaches and aching limbs.


A few people who get a salmonella infection also get pain in the abdomen. This means there is a possibility of intestinal damage that can cause abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

There is also a chance that someone with salmonella gets fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. When someone develops fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, they usually need to be admitted to hospital.

Luckily, Salmonella infections rarely require hospital admission, but if someone does need to stay in hospital, they will be offered antibiotics to treat their infection and should not eat anything that contains uncooked eggs.

If you have consumed this contaminated product, then see your doctor who can arrange a blood test and will advise on the best course of treatment.

People who have severe or complicated illness may need to be admitted to hospital.

Treatment for Salmonella Infection

The Treatment for Salmonella Infection include supportive care, such as intravenous fluids.

Your primary care doctor should have a complete blood count and tested stool specimen. If you have symptoms of a Salmonella infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection.

People who are unable to swallow or have difficulty swallowing should have someone bring in food and beverages for them, as they may need assistance eating or drinking. Your doctor may require you to take it easy or limit your activities, so you don’t become too weak or dehydrated.

Keep a list of medications and vitamins you take on hand to help your doctor administer the antibiotics if needed. Your doctor may recommend giving your salmonella infection intravenously, or through a nasal or throat spray that delivers antibiotics directly to the lungs.

Other Treatment options for Salmonella Infection include:

Good hygiene is a good prevention tool to avoid Salmonella infection. Use standard food safety practices and cook products to proper internal temperatures.

Raw shell eggs can carry Salmonella bacteria and are a common source of foodborne illness. Use raw, non-pasted eggs for making cakes, muffins, or other recipes where fresh eggs are used.

  • Do not eat, sell, or serve under-cooked or raw-egg foods.
  • Hand wash raw eggs or foods made with raw eggs before eating.
  • Do not cook eggs or egg products in your microwave oven. Microwave ovens should be used only for preheating, not for cooking or to heat foods.
  • Do not give raw eggs to children under the age of 5.
  • Wash your hands and any surface that may have come in contact with raw eggs.

More information about Salmonella and food safety is available online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.


To Prevent Salmonella Infection, one must follow the following guide, if sick, get rid of foods and drinks that could have been contaminated, such as raw chicken, eggs, and unwashed fruits and vegetables, wash hands with soap and water and avoid sharing utensils and clothes.

According to Live Science, there are several strains of Salmonella in the United States. One of them is Salmonella Enteritidis, which is the most common type of Salmonella infections in the U.S. This bacteria is associated with the Salmonella Typhimurium bacteria, which are prevalent in cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, and the species of “lice” known as “pinworms”, which are found in the human digestive system.

Foodborne illnesses are not limited to the US, but also affect people in some other countries. To prevent foodborne diseases, you should always wash your hands properly and avoid cross-contamination by cooking at separate times and temperatures. You can visit our website for more information.

Common Medications

The most common Medications for Salmonella Infection are anti-infectives. These drugs include: Mepiclav (mepicillin) and Doxycycline.

If your child has been ill with Salmonella and is still taking an anti-infective, he or she should continue to take the medication until the source of infection is identified and treated.

Children should only take over-the-counter medicines that have been recommended by the healthcare provider. These should not be confused with over-the-counter medications that are prescribed by the doctor for short-term illnesses such as coughs, colds and flu. These are medications that are typically safe for use during the first four weeks of illness.

Never stop any medications without speaking with a doctor

Children should continue to take their medicines as prescribed even if they are no longer feeling sick. The medicine can work its way out of their bodies when they are not feeling well.

If your child is taking an over-the-counter medicine, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if it is safe to take when you are not feeling well.

Your doctor will likely prescribe additional medicines after seeing the severity of your child’s infection. The exact number of medicines prescribed will depend on how much bacteria is present in your child’s body.

Your healthcare provider will also prescribe antibiotics to reduce the spread of the bacteria from one person to another.

Tell your healthcare provider if you or your child develops a rash after taking an over-the-counter medicine.

Not all children with Salmonella have a rash and not all who develop a rash have salmonella. Your healthcare provider may decide that your child needs to be treated with an antibiotic.