Salmonella is a common bacterium that causes infection in humans, usually through exposure to inadequately processed foods like chicken or eggs, contaminated water, and contact with animals like reptiles and amphibians 2. The people affected most are usually very young or have underlying immune deficiencies. The bacterium incubates for one to three days before causing symptoms.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
The most common system affected by salmonella infection is the gastrointestinal tract 2. Patients usually exhibit bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. The diarrhea can be profuse and lead to dehydration. Severe cases can lead to anemia, although this is rare. The fever tends to be hard to control and difficult to lower with medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Abdominal cramps can be quite painful and may mimic surgical conditions like appendicitis. Treatment with antibiotics is not recommended for salmonella gastroenteritis, because it does not shorten the duration of the symptoms and can prologue the period of contagiousness 2.
Diseases From Pork That Pass to Humans
Bacteremia means that the bacterium has spread into the bloodstream. Once this happens, Salmonella can affect several organ systems in the body 2. This is what is known as typhoid or enteric fever. The symptoms of bacteremia are gradual, and often include:
- decrease appetite
- change in mental status
- like lethargy or decreased consciousness
Patients with typhoid fever can have severe abdominal pain, with liver and spleen enlargement. The fever usually worsens and becomes more persistent. Patients with typhoid can also have rose spots on their skin. For patients with typhoid fever, antibiotic therapy for about 10 days is effective in treating the disease and its symptoms.
- Bacteremia means that the bacterium has spread into the bloodstream.
- For patients with typhoid fever, antibiotic therapy for about 10 days is effective in treating the disease and its symptoms.
Other Body Systems Affected
From the blood, salmonella can cause several infections 2. In patients with sickle cell disease, salmonella can cause osteomyelitis 2. This bone infection usually presents with localized pain, especially when trying to move, and fever. Although osteomyelitis usually affects the long bones of the extremities, in sickle cell patients salmonella can cause infection in any bone, including the vertebra and pelvis 2. Treatment for osteomyelitis includes intravenous antibiotics, usually for four to six weeks. Salmonella can also cause meningitis, which is an infection of the tissues surrounding the brain and central nervous system 2. Although rare, salmonella meningitis can have disastrous consequences, especially in infants 2.
Diseases From Pork That Pass to Humans
Diseases with Mono Like Symptoms
Sushi Food Poisoning Signs
Types of Coliform Bacteria
Common Human Parasites
How Long Does the Typhoid Vaccine Last?
Causes of a Typhoid Fever Relapse
Symptoms From Drinking Coliform Bacteria in Water
Symptoms of Roundworms in People
List of Enteric Bacteria
- World Health Organization: Salmonella
- CDC: Salmonella FAQ
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Salmonella. Updated January 23, 2020.
- Humphries RM, Linscott AJ. Laboratory Diagnosis of Bacterial Gastroenteritis. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2015;28(1):3-31. doi:10.1128/CMR.00073-14
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Foodborne Outbreaks. Updated January 24, 2020.
- List of Selected Multistate Foodborne Outbreak Investigations. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/outbreaks/multistate-outbreaks/outbreaks-list.html
- Public Communication during Foodborne Outbreaks. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/outbreaks/investigating-outbreaks/communication/index.html
- Salmonella: Diagnosis and Test. Cleveland Clinic website. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15697-salmonella/diagnosis-and-tests
- Salmonella infection. Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/salmonella/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355335
- Salmonella Infections. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/infectious_diseases/salmonella_infections_85,P00647
- Hung, C.; Hung, M.; and Hseuh, P. "Risk of Recurrent Nontyphoid Salmonella Bacteremia in HIV-Infected Patients in the Era of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy and an Increasing Trend of Fluoroquinolone Resistance."Clinical Infectious Disease. July 19, 2007, 45 (5): e60-e67.
- Morpeth, S.; Ramadhani, H.; and Crump, J. "Invasive Non-Typhi Salmonella Disease in Africa."Clinical Infectious Disease. August 15, 2009, 49 (4): 606-611.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Appendix A - AIDS Defining Conditions." Atlanta, Georgia.
- Burckhardt, B.; Sendi, P.; Pluger, D.; et al. "Rare AIDS-Defining Diseases in Swiss HIV Cohort Study." European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. July 1999, 18(6):399-402.
- Celum, C.; Chaisson,R.; and Rutherford, G. "Incidence of salmonellosis is patients with AIDS." Journal of Infectious Diseases. December 1987; 156(6);998-1002.
- Dhanoa, A. and Fatt, Q. "Non-typhoidal Salmonella bacteraemia: Epidemiology, clinical characteristics and its' association with severe immunosuppression." Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials. March 18, 2009; 8(15):e1-15.
Ruben J. Nazario has been a medical writer and editor since 2007. His work has appeared in national print and online publications. Nazario is a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and is board-certified in pediatrics. He also has a Master of Arts in liberal studies from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.