Salmonellosis is an infection caused by bacteria known as Salmonella, which exist in two species further divided into many subspecies. The two species are Salmonella bongori and Salmonella enterica.
Humans contract the bacteria by eating food items which are infected with the bacteria, as when meat is not properly cooked, or raw meat. The foods include:
- Infected eggs and cheese products, as well as unpasteurized milk
- Infected fruits and vegetables
- Contaminated water
- Contact with infected people and animals like poultry, swine, cattle, rodents, and even pets like cats and dogs.
- Processed food might also be a source of contamination
The bacteria act on the alimentary canal, namely the intestines. Sometimes, they may spread to the bloodstream.
Who can get infected by Salmonella bacteria?
Anyone may be infected if one eats infected food. However, old people, young children as well as those with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable. These categories of people are more prone to developing critical conditions if infected.
Symptoms of Salmonellosis
- Mild or severe diarrhea
- Abdominal cramps
- Some people may experience severe diarrhea, and hence undergo dehydration. Hospitalisation becomes necessary in this case.
The symptoms begin to appear one or three days after infection with the bacteria.
How long does an infected person carry the bacteria?
The bacteria may persist inside the body of an infected person for several days or months. Certain factors might increase this time lapse. Treatment with oral antibiotics and younger people have a tendency of having the bacteria inside their bodies for longer time periods.
Treatment for Salmonellosis
The infections caused by the Salmonella bacteria get cured within a week’s time without the need for treatment. However, if the infected people experience severe diarrhea thereby causing dehydration to a great extent, treatment becomes necessary. Rehydration is done through intravenous fluids. If the infections spread to other body parts, antibiotics have to be taken.
Prevention of Salmonellosis
- Refrigerate foods that need to be stored
- Do not place cooked food on unwashed plates on which raw meat were put
- Cook meat well before eating. Avoid eating those which are not well cooked
Complications due Salmonellosis
In severe cases, the infections may spread to the blood vessels. From there, they can propagate to other body parts. This is known as typhoid fever, and is a severe disease. It can be fatal if the infected persons are not treated with antibiotics immediately.