Ten Supplemental Facts About Salmonella

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1. Salmonella is also known as Salmonellosis.

• It is an infection of the gastrointestinal tract.
• The bacteria can infect both humans and animals.
• Salmonella organisms are mostly found on domestic animals such as chicken, ducks, swine and cattle.
• The onset of symptoms such as headache, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting and watery stools commences from 12 – 72 hours after being infected with salmonella and lasts for about 4-7 days.
• Some salmonella infection has milder symptoms.

2. Salmonella infection is self-limiting.

• Can subside without treatment and can have complete recovery from diarrhea in healthy individuals.
• However, infants, children below five years old, elderly and people with other health issues may have weaken immune response to fight off the infection, thus antibiotic treatment is needed to clear the bacteria.
• In healthy adults, large amount of bacteria is needed to cause infection.
• Drink plenty of fluids to replace water loss from diarrhea.
• Antibiotics may be prescribed if the infection spreads to the blood stream.

3. Salmonella bacteria has two types of species

• Salmonella bongori and Salmonella enteric.
• Subtypes are classified according to serotypes based on the antibody-antigen reaction of the organism
• Sub-typing may be determined by bacterial DNA component analysis.

4. Salmonella are anaerobic enterobacteria.

• They obtain energy from oxidation utilizing organic sources under low or no oxygen tension.
• Their favorite place is a wet environment (in soil and water).

5. Salmonella can be acquired at food establishments.

• Food handlers infected with the bacteria can easily transmit the infection by contamination of foods during preparation if their hands have not been washed thoroughly.
• Swallowing of Salmonella bacteria invades the gastrointestinal track and causes the infection.
• Though, the acidity of gastric juices is able to kill some of the bacteria, salmonella had evolved and developed a certain tolerance to acidic environment.

6. Salmonella is sensitive to high temperature.

• Most harmful bacteria can be destroyed by heat.
• High temperature causes the bacteria to lyse and disintegrate.
• On the contrary, freezing will not kill bacteria but slows down its cell’s metabolism and keep from dividing.

7. Salmonella is the most common cause of food poisoning

• High risk foods include raw eggs, undercooked poultry meats and unpasteurized milk or dairy products.
• Salmonella bacteria also thrives in unhygienic bathroom from water sources and serve as their reservoir
• Hand hygiene and water treatment may contribute in the prevention of salmonella infection.

8. Salmonella can cause of typhoid fever.

• Salmonella typhi is a serotype (a gram-negative bacterium from S. entirica subtype) that causes a systemic form of disease.
• Its sole reservoir is human.
• The bacteria pass and penetrate in the lymphatic system of the intestines and eventually into the circulating blood resulting in an increase in membrane permeability and alter the tone of blood vessels.

9. Dead Salmonella bacteria produce toxins.

• A dead bacterium is supposed to be harmless.
• In salmonella infection, after the incubation period endotoxins are produced from dead salmonellae which affect the surrounding cells and poison them.
• The gastric membranes may get irritated and body’s local response is enteritis (inflammation of the intestine).
• There is, in fact, emergence of multi-resistant drug strains of salmonellae.

10. Salmonella infection can be deadly.

• There are salmonella serovars that are fatal.
• In severe infections, the bacteria can be carried into other organs such as in kidneys and cause the patient to have little or completely no urine production leading to toxemia.
• Significant loss of fluids and electrolytes from severe diarrhea and vomiting may lead to hypovolemic shock.

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