Q: What is salmonella or salmonellosis?
A: Salmonellosis is an infection with a bacteria called salmonella. Most persons infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.
The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, 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. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
Q.: What sort of germ is salmonella?
A: The salmonella germ is actually a group of bacteria that can cause diarrheal illness in humans. They are microscopic living creatures that pass from the feces of people or animals, to other people or other animals. There are many different kinds of salmonella bacteria. salmonella serotype Typhimurium and salmonella serotype Enteritidis are the most common in the United States. salmonella has been known to cause illness for over 100 years.
Q: How would someone receive salmonella in the mail?
A: You could receive the bacteria, but in the most recently reported story about Bill Clinton what investigators are saying is that he received something that most likely fermented into salmonella.
Also, for someone to become infected with salmonella, doctors say that you would have to injest the bacteria. Most of the time, salmonella is contracted through undercooked food.
Q: Why is it named salmonella?
A: The bacterium were discovered by a American scientist named Salmon, for whom they are named.
Q: How can salmonella infections be diagnosed?
A: Many different kinds of illnesses can cause diarrhea, fever, or abdominal cramps. Determining that salmonella is the cause of the illness depends on laboratory tests that identify salmonella in the stools of an infected person. These tests are sometimes not performed unless the laboratory is instructed specifically to look for the organism. Once salmonella has been identified, further testing can determine its specific type, and which antibiotics could be used to treat it.
Q: How can salmonella infections be treated?
A: salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days and often do not require treatment unless the patient becomes severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines. Antibiotics are not usually necessary unless the infection spreads from the intestines, then it can be treated with ampicillin, gentamicin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, or ciprofloxacin. Unfortunately, some salmonella bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, largely as a result of the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of feed animals.
Q: Are there long term consequences to a salmonella infection?
A: Persons with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal. A small number of persons who are infected with salmonella, will go on to develop pains in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. This is called Reiter’s syndrome. It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis which is difficult to treat. Antibiotic treatment does not make a difference in whether or not the person later develops arthritis.
Q: What can a person do to prevent this illness?
A: There is no vaccine to prevent salmonellosis.