Meet the Salmonella in Food

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a kind of bacteria that can cause serious foodborne illness. It normally affects the gastrointestinal tract but can also invade the bloodstream and other parts of the body. Salmonella are often found in eggs, poultry, meat, unpasteurized milk, and cheese. In the United States, salmonellosis (the disease caused by Salmonella) is estimated to cause 1 million illnesses and 380 deaths every year. However, these figures are probably underestimated because many milder cases are never diagnosed or reported. The true number of people who get sick from Salmonella each year may be closer to 2.4 million. In fact, salmonellosis is one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses in the United States.

How Does Salmonella Get Into Food?

Salmonella enterica is a bacterium that can cause foodborne illness. The bacteria are often found in unpasteurized dairy products, poultry, eggs, meat, and seafood. They can also be found on surfaces such as cutting boards and utensils. If these products or surfaces come into contact with food that will not be cooked before it is eaten, the bacteria can contaminate the food. Once inside the human body, Salmonella multiply quickly and spread throughout the bloodstream. symptoms usually develop 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Most people with salmonellosis experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually last four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. However, some people develop severe illness that can lead to death if not treated promptly with antibiotics. Infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for severe illness from Salmonella infection .

While most people infected with Salmonella will recover without treatment, some will develop severe illness that can lead to death if not treated promptly with antibiotics . It is important to take steps to prevent Salmonella contamination of food by ensuring that all poultry , eggs , meat , and seafood are cooked properly and that all cutting boards , utensils , and surfaces are clean . If you think you might have salmonellosis , see your healthcare provider promptly . Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent severe illness and death .