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*Salmonella & Our Body*

Updated on January 17, 2016


What is it?

Salmonellosis is an infectious disease of humans and animals caused by organisms of the two
species of Salmonella (Salmonella enterica, and S. bongori). Although primarily intestinal bacteria,
salmonellae are widespread in the environment and commonly found in farm effluents, human
sewage and in any material subject to faecal contamination. Salmonella organisms are aetiological
agents of diarrhoeal and systemic infections in humans, most commonly as secondary
contaminants of food originating from animals and the environment, usually as a consequence of
subclinical infection in food animals leading to contamination of meat, eggs, and milk or secondary
contamination of fruits and vegetables that have been fertilised or irrigated by faecal wastes.

Is it contagious?

Many of the members of the bacterial genus Salmonella are known to be contagious. The organisms can be transferred from person to person, by both direct (saliva, fecal/oral spread, kissing) and indirect contact (Ex: using contaminated eating utensils). In addition, a number of Salmonella species can be transmitted from animals (snakes, turtles, chickens, hamsters, cats, and dogs) to humans, usually by direct contact. So be aware that your pets are fully vaccinated and that you DONOT eat undercooked meat at any cost.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of Salmonella include diarrhea and abdominal cramps, often followed by fever of 100°F to 102°F (38°C to 39°C). Other symptoms may include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, headache and body aches and chills. The incubation period, or the time from ingestion of the bacteria until the symptoms start, is generally 6 to 72 hours, however, there is evidence that in some situations the incubation can be longer than 10 days, so be aware of what you eat and if it's meat how well cooked is it.

Here's the one thing that you should look out for when watching the signs and symptoms. Another strain similar to Salmonella is called S. Typhi and Paratyphi generally cause a bacteremic illness, Salmonella, found in the blood of long duration. This illness is called enteric, typhoid, or paratyphoid fever. Symptoms start gradually, and include fever, headache, malaise, lethargy, and abdominal pain. In children, it can present as a non specific fever. The incubation period for S. Typhi is usually 8 to 14 days, but it can range from 3 to 60 days.

Salmonella pathogenesis

Salmonella - Petri Dish examination
Salmonella - Petri Dish examination

E.Coli vs. Salmonella and others...

E. coli is the name of a type of bacteria that lives in your intestines. Most types of E. coli are harmless. However, some types can make you sick and cause a bloody diarrhea. The worst type of E. coli causes bloody diarrhea, and can sometimes cause kidney failure and even death. These problems are most likely to occur in children and in adults with weak immune systems. Apart from supportive care, such as close attention to hydration and nutrition, there is no specific therapy to halt E. coli symptoms. The recent finding that E. coli initially speeds up blood coagulation.

ON THE OTHER HAND - Salmonella is the name of the group of over 2,500 types of bacteria that most commonly causes food poisoning in humans and animals. Salmonella is spread by ingesting foods that are contaminated by salmonella such as raw eggs, raw meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and contaminated water. Contamination takes place when these foods come into contact with animal or human feces and are not cooked properly. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some people the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

Meat food poisoning is caused by any number of bacteria which include:

  • Campylobacter
  • Listeria
  • Salmonella
  • E coli

Campylobacter and salmonella are both found in raw meat. Listeria occurs in meat products such as pates and cooked meats, salami. E coli can be found in undercooked beef.

How to prevent this?

1) Keep meat cold: The USDA recommends storing meat at 40 degrees or below. When you buy meat at the store, purchase it last and bring it home quickly to refrigerate and keep it out of the "temperature danger zone" at which bacteria flourish.

2) Watch your temperatures: If not using within a day or two, meat should be frozen. Thaw frozen meat under refrigeration -- do not leave it out on a counter to defrost. Likewise, store eggs away from the door and toward the back of the refrigerator to keep them cold.

3) Guard against leaks: Seal and properly store: Make sure the meat is fully wrapped (place it in a plastic bag before buying) so raw juices do not leak and potentially contaminate other groceries.

4) Wash, wash, wash: Wash your hands and all surfaces before and after handling meat.

5) Clean up your work area: Be sure to thoroughly clean any surfaces that came in contact with the meat. There is controversy about whether chicken should be rinsed off in a sink. If you decide to do so, make sure you scrub down the sink area, and any nearby areas that may have been splashed by contaminated water.

6) Swap out your utensils: Do not use utensils or equipment on cooked foods that were previously used on raw foods. This includes cutting boards, tongs and plates.

7) Cook to a safe temperature: Keep in mind that high-risk foods can harbor bacteria. When an animal is slaughtered, the surface of the meat can be exposed to bacteria. As the meat is ground, this bacteria can spread, contaminating the ground meat throughout. For chicken, poultry and any ground meats, cook to at least 165 degrees (well done NOT RAW OR UNDERCOOKED).


Generally the disease will run its course in four to seven days. Treatment for those infected with Salmonella should include drinking plenty of liquids to replace body fluids lost through diarrhea and vomiting.You may wish to check with your doctor if you believe you have a Salmonella infection and you

  • are 65 years or older
  • have a weakened immune system
  • experience severe symptoms
  • experience symptoms lasting longer than seven

Please visit the nearest ED if you have any symptoms of the above mentioned.

Thanks, M

Center For Disease Control and Prevention - 1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027 USA

Phone#: 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)

Salmonella and the Human Body

5 out of 5 stars from 4 ratings of Salmonella and the Human Body

© 2016 Mahsa S


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    Post Comment
    • mahsa setareh profile imageAUTHOR

      Mahsa S 

      3 years ago

      Though I'm not a doctor and a medical student I would be able to help you if you like...I'm glad that you enjoyed the information on this article. Yes the Salmonella Poona is the one from Cucumbers that are imported and not washed properly.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great information. I needed a medical dictionary for some of the words (which I don't have), but as I suffered through a bout of salmonella back in September I knew a lot of this by talking with the health department. We think I got it from cucumbers as there was a big recall because of salmonella. This is an important public health issue and you did the public a great service writing about it. Are you a doctor? Thank you.

    • mahsa setareh profile imageAUTHOR

      Mahsa S 

      3 years ago

      Eating un washed vegetables and fruits can cause salmonella

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Thanks for the article! was great

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Thanks for helpfull information,i didn't know you can get salmonella from friut or vegetabels.I am glad to read your article .


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