What is Salmonella infection?

Salmonellosis (Salmonella enterocolitis; food poisoning) is an infection of the lining of the small intestine caused by the bacteria Salmonella.

Statistics on Salmonella infection

In the U.S. approxiamatley 40,000 people are infected each year. No race or sex predilection exists. The infection is more common in the young and elderely over 60 years of age.

Risk Factors for Salmonella infection

  • Ingestion of improperly prepared or stored food, especially of poultry origin
  • Family members with recent salmonella infection
  • Recent family bout of gastroenteritis
  • Recent poultry ingestion
  • Owning pet reptiles, which are carriers of salmonella
  • Being of old or young age
  • Patients with impaired/weakened immune systems

Progression of Salmonella infection

The incubation period is 8 to 48 hours after exposure, and the acute illness lasts for 1 to 2 weeks. The bacteria is shed in the feces for months in some treated patients.

How is Salmonella infection diagnosed?

  • Tender abdomen
  • Rose spots – tiny pink spots on the skin

Prognosis of Salmonella infection

The probable outcome is usually positive. Symptoms will normally subside in individuals within 2-5 days.

How is Salmonella infection treated?

The objective of treatment is to replace fluids and electrolytes (salt and minerals) lost by diarrhoea. Antibiotic therapy may decrease the duration and severity of symptoms. One should consult their GP for antibiotics and further information.


[1] Kumar and Clark Clinical Medicine 5th edition pg 72-73.
[2] MEDLINE Plus.

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