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Division of Epidemiology
275 East Main Street
Frankfort, KY 40621
502-564-3418 or 3261

Salmonellosis is an acute intestinal disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella that is present in the feces of a wide variety of animals and some people. There are 2000 known serotypes of Salmonella.

How Salmonellosis Is Spread?

The most common route of infection is through ingestion of food from an infected animal or food contaminated by feces of an infected animal or person. High risk foods include raw and undercooked eggs, meat and meat products, poultry, raw milk, and raw milk products. Raw fruits and vegetables that may be contaminated during slicing are also included. Infection can occur through an open cut, sore or wound into the bloodstream. Pet turtles, iguanas, other reptiles and baby chicks are sources of infection especially for children.

Symptoms of Salmonellosis

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within 06-72 hours, the infection usually resolves in 5-7 days. The severity of the infection varies from mild to severe and may require hospitalization to control the infection, or for rehydration with intravenous fluids. The Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

How Salmonella Is Diagnosed And Treated

Salmonellosis is routinely diagnosed from a stool culture. For uncomplicated Salmonella, no treatment is necessary.Symptoms of high fever or manifestations of extra intestinal infection should be given antibiotics and rehydration fluids if indicated.

How To Prevent This Illness

There is no vaccine to prevent Salmonella. People should not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat. Raw eggs are in some foods such as homemade hollandaise sauce, Caesar and other salad dressings, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, cookie dough, and frostings.

Produce should be thoroughly washed before consuming. Cross-contamination of foods should be avoided. Hands should be washed before handling any food, and between handling different food items. Special precautions to prevent exposure to this organism from reptiles are listed below.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recommendations For Preventing Transmission Of Salmonella From Reptiles To Humans

Pet reptiles should be kept out of households where children aged 5 years and under or where chronically ill persons live who are the ones at increased risk of infection.

Families expecting a new baby should remove the pet reptile from the home before the infant arrives. Pet reptiles should not be kept in childcare centers. Pet reptiles should not be allowed to roam freely throughout the home or living area. Pet reptiles should be kept out of kitchens to prevent contamination. Kitchen sinks should not be used to bathe reptiles or wash their dishes, cages, or aquariums. If bathtubs are used for these purposes, they should be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected with bleach.


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Last Updated 11/21/2016