Facts On Salmonella

1998/6/9 Petri dish with salmonella culture, photo
U.S. health officials are investigating a nationwide outbreak of salmonella, possibly linked to produce. The bacteria may have spread through some form of produce, possibly tomatoes, the officials said. But the outbreak has yet to be linked to any specific food product, food-distribution chain, restaurants or supermarkets, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What is Salmonella?

According to WebMD, Salmonellosis is an infection caused by salmonella bacteria. Recently, a new strain of salmonella was found in the U.S. which poses a major new threat because it is resistant to several antibiotics normally used to treat people with salmonella infections.
Salmonellosis may occur in small, contained outbreaks in the general population or in large outbreaks in hospitals, restaurants, or institutions for children or the elderly. While the disease is found worldwide, health experts most often report cases in North America and Europe.

What are the symptoms of Salmonella?

Salmonella has several distinct symptoms, according to WebMD. These include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headache
  • How can I prevent Salmonella?

    WebMD recommends taking some precautions:
  • Drink only pasteurized milk.
  • Cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly before eating.
  • Keep eggs refrigerated.
  • Throw away cracked or dirty eggs.
  • Wash hands immediately after handling reptiles (turtles, iguanas, lizards) or come in contact with pet feces, since salmonella can be found in the feces of these animals.
  • How is Salmonella diagnosed and treated?

    If you think you may have been exposed to the infection, see your doctor for a bacteria test.

    Salmonella infections usually go away in 5-7 days and often do not require treatment unless you become severely dehydrated or the infection spreads outside of the intestines. If treatment is needed, antibiotics are prescribed.

    To learn more about food poisoning:

    • You can read more about Salmonella here.

    • Click here for more information about food poisoning from WebMD.

    • Here's more information from WebMD on how to prevent food poisoning.

    • Give your brain a checkup with these health quizzes from CBSNews.com.