Salmonella is one of the most common enteric (intestinal) infections in the U.S. In some states (e.g. Georgia, Maryland) it is the most common, and overall it is the second most common foodborne illness (usually slightly less frequent than a Campylobacter infection). The reported incidence of Salmonella illnesses are about 17 cases per each 100,000 persons.1
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that causes typhoid fever and many other infections of intestinal origin. Typhoid fever, rare in the U.S., is caused by a particular strain designated Salmonella typhi. But illness due to other Salmonella strains, called “salmonellosis,” is common in the U.S. Today, the number of known strains (technically termed “serotypes” or “serovars”) of this bacterium total over 2,300.
Over 40,000 actual cases are reported and confirmed yearly in the U.S.2 As only about 3% of Salmonella cases are officially reported nationwide,3 and many milder cases are never diagnosed, the true incidence is undoubtedly much higher. It is more common in the warmer months of the year. Approximately 500 to 1,0004 persons, or 31% of all food-related deaths2 are caused by Salmonella infections in the U.S. every year.
In 1885, pioneering American veterinary scientist, Daniel E. Salmon, discovered the first strain of Salmonella from the intestine of a pig. This strain was called Salmonella choleraesuis, the designation that is still used to describe the genus and species of this common human pathogen.