Salmonella Food Poisoning

Salmonellosis, or salmonella food poisoning, affects approximately 142,000 Americans every year. The infection is usually caused by Salmonella enterica, which generally infects chicken and cattle, although it can infect domestic animals such as cats and hamsters. Over 2000 strains of the bacteria have been described.

The Salmonella genus is a pretty hardy little bacteria, and can survive for weeks outside a living body. Refridgeration and freezing do not kill Salmonella, although cooking will.

Salmonella causes salmonellosis, typhoid fever, and paratyphoid fever.


Infection by the Salmonella bacteria generally occurs from eating infected, unclean, or undercooked:

  • Beef
  • Chicken (especially if unhygienically thawed)
  • Eggs

as well as feces from sick or infected humans or animals and polluted water. A connection has been made between birds and reptiles and Salmonella infection.

Incubation time for Salmonella infection is 12 to 16 hours, and can persist for up to 6 months, even if symptoms only last for a few days.

Salmonella enter the epithelial cells of the intestinal tract and multiply within a vesicle inside the cell in the intestinal wall. The body has an inflammatory response to this invasion that generally results in diarrhea. Occasionally the bacteria cross the epithelial cell membrane and can enter the lymphatic system.

Salmonella enter the epithelial cells of the intestinal tract.
Salmonella enter the epithelial cells of the intestinal tract.


Symptoms of Salmonella gastroenteritis include

  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • chills

Symptoms of typhoid fever include the above, but further include

  • fever above 102 F
  • rose-colored spots on chest
  • cough
  • liver and/or spleen enlargement

In the United States, typhoid fever usually occurs in people who have just returned from a foreign country where the disease is common.


Antidiarrheals, such as Imodium, can help cramping and diarrhea, but may also prolong the infection. If your doctor thinks the bacteria have entered your bloodstream, antibiotics may be prescribed.

Otherwise, rest and hydration are important to give your immune system a boost to fight off the bacteria and counteract the loss of water from the diarrhea.


Salmonella food poisoning is easy to prevent.

Wash your hands after

  • Using the bathroom
  • Changing a diaper
  • Handling raw meat or eggs
  • Cleaning up pet fecal matter

Avoid eating raw eggs, such as raw cookie dough, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, and eggnog. If you must use raw eggs in a recipe, buy pasteurized eggs.

When preparing food, wash utensils, cutting boards, and plates immediately if they have held raw meat. Do not use the same cutting board to cut raw meat as you use to cut vegetables, and if you must, wash the cutting board thoroughly with hot water first.

Store raw meat separately from other food items in your refrigerator.

More by this Author

  • Clostridium botulinum, botulism, and botox

    Botulism is a rare illness caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. This etiological agent produces 7 types of toxins under anaerobic (no oxygen) conditions, which are known by the letters A-G....

  • Over the Counter Acne Scar Treatments

    As if dealing with years of acne isn't insult enough, many people are left with acne scars from the trauma, leading to continued self-consciousness and embarassment. There are numerous solutions from dermatologists that...

  • Vintage Pin-Up Tattoos

    The female figure has been a long-standing staple in art for thousands of years, so it follows easily that her form and face bear a prominent place in this new art form as tattooing developed in the early 20th century....

Comments 2 comments

Kimberly Bunch profile image

Kimberly Bunch 7 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

Good Hub! Here's another beneficial hub:

Yennie Adam 6 years ago

Since the Salmonella germ so dangerous, I would recommend not to eat any raw meat or eggs, that is the source of the germs. To prevent the germs, read more here.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article