What is Salmonella?

Salmonella bacteria (red-coloured) invading human cells

Salmonella is a bacterium that can sometimes be found in food supply, tomatoes, chicken, peanuts, salsa, guacamole, and even pet food. It can lead to food poisoning since it thrives in the intestinal tracts of animals and humans. Illnesses range from mild to very serious infections that can kill those with weak immune system.

READ ALSO: More Than 200 Million Eggs Recalled by Company Due to Salmonella Bacteria

Food Sources of Salmonella

Salmonella can be found in any raw food of animal origin such as poultry, milk, eggs, meat, and seafood. Also, some fruits and vegetables may carry salmonella bacteria. Avoid consuming raw or undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs, along with unpasteurized dairy products.

Can Cooking or Washing Help?

It’s always advisable to rinse fruits and vegetables, but it may not get rid of salmonella, particularly during an outbreak. However, thorough cooking can kill salmonella. Also, when health officials warn people not to eat possibly contaminated food during an outbreak, avoid eating that food, no matter how properly cooked it is.

Food Safety Tips

The FDA recommends these practices for all fruits and vegetables to prevent food poisoning:

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water before and after handling fruits and vegetables.
  • Wash produce thoroughly under running water, not in a tub or sink.
  • Use a clean cutting board and utensils.
  • Don’t allow produce come into contact with other raw foods or surfaces they have touched.

Non-Food Sources of Salmonella

Salmonella bacteria may be found in the intestines of pets, so their feces may be hazardous. Animals such as turtles, snakes and other reptiles, and chicks and other birds are more likely to carry the bacteria. Always wash your hands carefully with soap and warm water after coming into contact with any pet or their feces.

Salmonella in Baby Chicks

The CDC warns of regular salmonella epidemics in baby chicks. One outbreak tends to recur every spring, as parents buy chicks as Easter gifts for their kids. The CDC has warned that parents should not allow their kids under age 5 to handle baby chicks or ducks.

Salmonella Symptoms and Treatments

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever that develop 12 to 72 hours after eating. Most people recover in four to seven days and don’t require treatment other than drinking lots of fluid. People with severe diarrhea may require intravenous fluids.

Antibiotics are not always required in healthy people unless the salmonella infection has spread beyond the intestines. Fatal cases are found in young children, elderly people, and people with weak immune.

 

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