Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause food poisoning and is quite common in animals. Especially poultry and eggs are contaminated, but it also occurs in beef and pork. The Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of these animals.
Salmonella is one of the main causes of food poisoning. The bacteria is invisible and your food doesn't taste or smell differently. Especially young children, elderly, pregnant women and sick people have a high risk of getting sick after a Salmonella infection. People in these groups run a risk of getting complications such as arthritis, abscesses and heart problems.
People can become ill by eating raw animal food, but infection is also indirectly possible through cross-contamination. This happens for instance when a contaminated piece of chicken or egg is prepared with a utensil and the same utensil is used for another piece of food.
In the United States there are approximately 50,000 cases of Salmonella infection reported every year. According to the WHO, World Health Organization, over 16 million people worldwide are infected each year. In Germany Salmonella infections must be reported.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection
Characteristics of Salmonella infection include fever, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches and infected people usually get these symptoms after 8 to 48 hours after eating contaminated food. If the poisoning is mild, symptoms can last 4 to 7 days. In case of a serious infection this may be considerably longer.
How do you treat a salmonella infection?
Most Salmonella infections usually subside in 4 to 7 days and often do not require treatment unless the patient becomes severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines. Antibiotics are usually not necessary, unless the infection spreads. Salmonella infections can be treated with various antibiotics, like ciprofloxacin, ampicillin and gentamicin, although some Salmonella bacteries have become resistant to these antibiotics.
How do you prevent salmonella?
You can take various measures to try to prevent a salmonella infection. The best tips are:
- Work with clean surfaces and materials
- Heat poultry, meat and raw milk really well
- Wash your hands before and after preparing food
- Store eggs in a refrigerator
- Do not consume raw eggs
- Fry eggs or boil them hard, the egg white and the yolk should be hard
- Strict hygiene in the kitchen
When you go out, it is more difficult to prevent a salmonella infection, but in any case, avoid restaurants with questionable hygiene. Also do not accept meat that is burnt or raw. Please use in such cases your mind: if in doubt, do not take the court and certainly don't eat it!