Ten Facts About Salmonella

Salmonella is one of the most common causes of food poisoning with tens of millions of people being struck down with the bug around the world each year.

Stricter controls within the poultry and egg production industry have led to a steep drop in cases in the last 15 years but it is still causes the most hospital admissions with around 2,500 each year.

Read on for 10 facts about Salmonella and how you can make simple lifestyle changes to help reduce the risk of catching it or spreading it to other people.


1. The rod-shaped Salmonella bug is usually found in the digestive system of farm animals, which means it can affect meat, poultry, eggs and unpasteurised dairy products. 


2. If the bacteria finds its way into a water supply or soil, through sewage or manure, then shellfish, fruit and vegetables can also become contaminated.


3. As well as catching a Salmonella infection through our food, tortoises and terrapins can also carry the bacteria.


4. Food poisoning cases caused by swallowing Salmonella infected food usually take around 12-72 hours to develop and the most common symptoms you’ll likely suffer from are diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever for about 4-7 days.


5. Once your symptoms have stopped you might still be able to infect other people, so avoid going back to school or work for another 48 hours to make sure the infection has passed.


6. As with most bouts of mild food poisoning, the most recommended treatment is to rest and stay hydrated, making sure you eat plain foods when you feel better. 


7. More severe cases can be treated with antibiotics but there have been instances of antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella emerging in recent years.


8. The best way of avoiding food poisoning caused by Salmonella is to make sure you wash and dry your hands thoroughly with soap and water after going to the toilet, before and after handling raw food, before eating and after working in the garden.


9. Safely preparing food is another key to preventing Salmonella food poisoning.  Wash your fruit and vegetables before eating and keep raw and cooked food separately, making sure that raw foods are kept in the bottom of the fridge to limit the bacteria spread. 


10. When cooking food, make sure that it is piping hot in the centre and that chicken is cooked all the way through until the juices run clear.  After preparing food, thoroughly clean your kitchen surfaces and any chopping boards or utensils that you might have used.


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Image: CDC

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