Health Department Salmonella June 2008 What is salmonella? How is salmonella spread? Salmonella is a bacteria that is found in contaminated foods. Salmonella is spread by the ingestion of the organisms in Salmonella grows when foods are improperly handled or food derived from infected animals or contaminated by prepared. feces of an infected animal or person. This includes raw and undercooked eggs and egg products, raw milk, and What are the symptoms of salmonella? raw milk products, contaminated water, meat and meat Symptoms include the sudden onset of a headache, products, poultry and poultry products and unwashed and abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and sometimes vomiting. uncooked fruits and vegetables. In addition, individuals Dehydration, especially among infants or elderly, may be can get salmonella from pet turtles, iguanas, lizards, severe. A fever is almost always present. snakes, ducklings and chicks. How soon do symptoms appear after infection How is salmonella treated? and how long is it contagious? Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days and often The incubation period is normally about 12—36 hours, but do not require treatment unless the patient becomes can take anywhere from six to 72 hours for symptoms to severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the appear. Persons with salmonella are contagious throughout intestines. Persons with severe diarrhea may require the course of the infection, which can be from several days hydration, often with intravenous fluids. Antibiotics are to several weeks. not usually necessary unless the infection spreads from the intestines. Unfortunately, some Salmonella bacteria have A person with salmonella can spread the infection by failing become resistant to antibiotics. to wash their hands after having a bowel movement. Good hand washing is vital! Salmonella cannot be contracted by simply being around someone who has it. You must ingest the organism from either undercooked meat and meat products, undercooked eggs and egg products, or having contact with reptiles, birds, or feces. Health Department Salmonella June 2008 Precautions include: Information for food handlers • Wash hands with soap and water before and after Cross-contamination of foods should be avoided. Uncooked handling foods of animal origin. meats should be keep separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods. Hands, cutting boards, counters, • Carefully clean all cutting boards, countertops and knives, and other utensils should be washed thoroughly after utensils with soap and hot water after preparing raw handling uncooked foods. Hands should be washed between food of animal origin or switching between types of handling different food items. food products. People who have salmonella should not prepare food or pour water for others. Food handlers should not report to work if • Thaw foods in the refrigerator, under running cold they have diarrhea. When visiting the doctor, food handlers water, or as part of the cooking process. should mention they are a restaurant worker. Food may become contaminated by the unwashed hands of an infected • Never let foods sit at room temperature for more than food handler, who forgot to wash his/her hands with soap two hours. after using the bathroom. • Never consume raw eggs or raw egg products. How can you prevent salmonella? • Cook poultry thoroughly. Persons with diarrhea, especially children, should wash their hands carefully and frequently with soap and water to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. In addition, there are a • Avoid purchasing bruised or damaged tomatoes and number of precautions you can take to avoid contracting the discard any that appear spoiled. infection. • Thoroughly wash all tomatoes under running water. • Refrigerate or discard cut, peeled, or cooked tomatoes within 2 hours. How can I get more information on salmonella? • Keep tomatoes that will be consumed raw separate from raw meats, raw seafood, and raw produce items. For more information on salmonella or any other • Children should not keep chicks, ducklings, turtles, health issues, call the Sedgwick County Health Department at 660-7392. Or visit the Sedgwick County website iguanas, lizards or snakes as pets. at www.sedgwickcounty.org.
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