What causes Salmonella gastroenteritis?
Typhoid fever is caused by a type of Salmonella called S. typhi, however this is very rare in the United States (only about 400 cases per year… usually in people that have traveled internationally in the recent past). Salmonella bacteria that commonly cause infections in the United States are of the “non-Typhoid” type. This bacteria is transmitted by farm animals such as chickens and cows, and also pets such as: snakes, lizards, iguanas, and turtles. Undercooked or poorly cleaned animal food products such as beef, fish, eggs and dairy products are the major source of human infection. Fruits and vegetables that are contaminated by contact with animals can also cause human infection.
What are the symptoms of Salmonella gastroenteritis?
- Diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
- Painful abdominal cramping
How long does it take to get Salmonella gastroenteritis after being exposed?
Usually between 6 and 48 hours.
Red Flags (seek medical care immediately)
- Severe or persistent symptoms
- Blood in stool
- Unable to eat or drink liquids (especially in young children and infants)
- High fever
Are there tests for Salmonella gastroenteritis?
Yes. The best test is a stool culture. A stool sample is taken to a laboratory that can determine if the bacteria is present and what subtype is present. Blood tests may be necessary to determine if the infection is severe.
Antibiotics are not needed for most cases of uncomplicated Salmonella gastroenteritis. In fact, antibiotics can prolong the time that the bacteria is present in the stool (and therefore the child will be contagious longer). Antibiotics may be necessary in children with other chronic illnesses, severe disease or for infants less than 3 months of age.
When necessary, antibiotics that are used to treat Salmonella infection include: amoxicillin, ampicillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or a third generation cephalosporin.
- Proper hand washing
- Infected children should be kept out of school or daycare until the diarrhea resolves
- Children who had close contact with an infected individual should seek medical care if they develop symptoms, otherwise testing or treatment is usually not necessary
Photo - This 2005 photograph depicted a young boy holding a box turtle, portraying a look of wonderment mixed with curiosity, as the turtle looks on with almost a sense of the nonchalance. The importance of this image lies in the reality that turtles carry germs known as Salmonella, which are potentially dangerous to children. In fact, the sale of turtles less than 4 inches in length has been banned in the United States since 1975. The ban by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prevented an estimated 100,000 cases of salmonellosis annually in children. CDC/ James Gathany 2005. Used with permission.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 23 June 2009 05:26)