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Salmonella

Unpublished
Health
Typography

SalmonellaSalmonella is a bacterium that causes food poisoning, typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever.

There are more than 2,500 strains of salmonella but the most common salmonella infection is due to the presence of the bacteria in food.

What is salmonella?

Salmonella is a type of bacteria. It is usually found in poultry, eggs, unprocessed milk, meat and water. The bacteria attack the stomach and intestines. The disease attacks people of all ages, both male and female.

How can I tell if I have salmonella poisoning?

The symptoms are: diarrhoea or constipation, headaches, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, fever and possibly blood in the faeces. Mild cases – diarrhoea two or three times a day for a couple of days – usually clear up in four to seven days without any treatment other than rest and plenty of liquids. More severe cases may cause copious diarrhoea and stomach cramps. In such cases, a doctor should be consulted and treatment with antibiotics may be necessary. In very severe cases there is also the danger that the infection will spread from the  intestines into the bloodstream, and death can result. 

When should I consult a doctor?

If diarrhoea is frequent and intense and continues for more than 24 hours, if stomach cramps are severe and if there is blood in the faeces you should contact a doctor. Dehydration is a real danger, especially in the elderly and very young. As well as food poisoning, one strain of Salmonella causes typhoid fever. This is a very serious and potentially fatal infection. Swift treatment with antibiotics is recommended.

How can I prevent a salmonella infection?

Infections can be prevented by paying attention to cleanliness and by cooking food properly. Food rules include: washing your hands with soap before food preparation; washing your hands and utensils when you change from preparing one type of food to another; storing meat, poultry and fish in a cool place.

How should I cook food to avoid infection?

Poultry and minced meat must always be thoroughly cooked or boiled. Cook eggs until the yolk sets. Never crack a raw egg on a bowl containing other foods - always use a knife to break the shell.