PUBLIC HEALTH FACT SHEET
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella is a bacterial germ that gets into the intestines and causes illness. The bacteria can be found in raw eggs, raw unpasteurized) milk, meat, poultry (chicken, turkey), and pet turtles, chicks, snakes, iguanas and lizards.
How is it spread?
Most types of Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of animals and birds and are transmitted to humans by contaminated foods, such as beef, poultry, milk, or eggs. Salmonella bacteria are also shed in the feces of infected individuals and unless there is proper hand-washing after bowel movements, the bacteria can be spread from contaminated hands to food during preparation. Salmonella may also be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea, and people can become infected if they do not wash their hands after contact with these feces.
How is it treated?
The germ usually goes away by itself; medication is only given in certain situations. If you are a food-handler, or work at or attend a day care you may (need to) be excluded until symptoms are gone and a stool culture is normal.
How can we prevent Salmonella?
- Do not eat raw eggs or raw (unpasteurized) milk.
- Throw away cracked eggs because they may have the germ in them.
- Cook meat well before eating it. Put cooked meat into a refrigerator right after a meal.
- Scrub cutting boards, counters, and utensils with hot soapy water after contact with raw or cooked meat, poultry or eggs.
- Wash your hands and your children’s hands after using the bathroom, after changing diapers, before eating, before and after making food, and after playing with animals.
SYMPTOMS OF SALMONELLA
- Nausea and vomiting