Typically, nontyphoidal Salmonella produces a self-limiting febrile gastrointestinal illness that is indistinguishable from that caused by other bacterial enteric pathogens. Dehydration is the principal clinical concern. The incubation period between ingestion of salmonella bacteria and the onset of illness varies from 6 to 72 hours.
Symptoms of salmonella infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting. The diarrhea may be non-bloody, occur several times per day, and not be very voluminous, although in severe cases it may be frequent, bloody and/or mucoid, and of high volume. Fever generally occurs in the 38 degrees C to 39 degrees C range. Vomiting is less common than diarrhea. Headaches, muscle pain, and joint pain are often reported as well. Whereas the diarrhea typically lasts 24 to 72 hours, patients often report fatigue and other nonspecific symptoms lasting 7 days or longer.