Salmonella is a gastrointestinal infection caused by a bacteria called Salmonella. This bacteria is one of the main causes of food poisoning in the western countries. But how is this bacteria transmitted? What are the symptoms of this infection? Read on to find out all you need to know about this type of food poisoning!
Salmonella: Symptoms and transmission
The most common symptoms of salmonella food poisoning are when you develop abdominal cramps, diarrhea and a fever. These symptoms generally appear between 12 and 72 hours after having consumed a contaminated food product.
Salmonella contaminates raw foods that have not been cooked enough like poultry, meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables or foods that have been left out of the fridge for several hours although they should be kept fresh. It can also contaminate foods that have come in contact with animal excrement such as farm products, contamination from domestic animals or bad hand hygiene after working with animals.
Without antibiotic treatment the symptoms will disappear after 4 to 7 days. Some people are more sensitive than others to this type of infection which can lead to further complications. This includes people who are ill, elderly or children under the age of five years old. In fact young children are more affected by this bacteria than any other grouping of people.
Why does salmonella appear?
In 90% of cases the infection is due to a person eating a food that has been contaminated with animal excrement. This is why it is important to wash your hands well with hot soapy water before and after cooking. It is especially important after touching any animals or objects that belong to them like their litter, basket or toys.
You should also try and avoid eating egg based dishes, meat or poultry which are raw or insufficiently cooked. Make sure your foods are well separated in the fridge. Cover your foods with a plastic film or store in an airtight container or bag so as to avoid any contamination between the foods in your fridge.
Make sure that you regularly wash your hands if you have domestic pets or if you work with animals; whether it is reptiles, birds, dogs, cats or horses. You should be especially careful before and after having prepared a meal, before eating, having been to the toilet or before you go to bed at night.
How can you prevent transmitting this infection ?
If a person is infected by salmonella they shouldn’t prepare anyone else a meal other than themselves. Once a person has been infected by salmonella then they become an asymptomatic carrier of the bacteria. After a while an infected person will no longer show symptoms of the infection. However they will still continue to excrete the bacteria in their feces. An adult can excrete this bacteria for up to 12 weeks after they have been infected while a child under five can continue to excrete the bacteria for up to a year.