Salmonellosis is an infectious disease spread by bacteria belonging to the salmonella category. The two main triggering microbial species are Salmonella bongori and Salmonella enterica, which are quite different from Salmonella typhi which gives rise to typhoid.
Currently, this contagious disease affects more than 3 million people worldwide, claiming over half a million lives. A particularly alarming statistic is that nearly two-thirds of those contracting salmonellosis happen to be children under the age of five.
Upon prompt medical treatment, most individuals who are otherwise healthy will recover within a few days following the onset of symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration.
The primary cause of salmonellosis is the presence of bacteria in the contaminated water and feces, which gets incorporated into food, while processing raw meat, seafood, poultry, eggs as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Traces of salmonella bacteria have been detected in minute amounts in powdered spices as well.
The consumption of such infested produce on a regular basis leads to the thriving of salmonella bacteria in the gut.
Moreover, certain risk factors are highly likely to predispose an individual to contract this ailment. These include traveling abroad and getting exposed to infectious agents in new environments, particularly in the wilderness. Also, having a bird or reptile as a pet, suffering from intestinal disorders and a compromised immune system can further heighten the chances of obtaining salmonellosis. Also Read: Contaminated Food Can Lead To Traveler’s Diarrhea
Only in rare cases does salmonellosis result in death, with such instances being high mainly in babies and the elderly. Hence, it is advised to always seek proper treatment from a doctor, to ensure a complete recovery from the infection.
The typical symptoms of salmonellosis are exhibited in the affected person after about 24 hours of infection. These characteristic signs last for 2 to 7 days and consist of the following:
- Blood in the stool
- High body temperature
- Vomiting of undigested food
- Severe headaches
Diagnosis And Treatment:
To diagnose salmonellosis, the gastroenterologist, a doctor specializing in treating intestinal disorders, will initially take a sample of the patient's stool, besides examining the external symptoms.
After laboratory tests confirm the presence of salmonella bacteria in the stool of the person, the appropriate course of treatment begins.
To remedy the acute dehydration arising from indigestion and diarrhea, electrolytes and oral rehydration fluids are recommended to be ingested at regular intervals.
The healthcare provider also prescribes antibiotics, generally after meals, to eliminate the infectious microbes from the digestive system in the body of the patient.
Salmonellosis can easily be prevented by adhering to routine hygiene practices such as washing hands thoroughly with soap before cooking, after meals and following any interaction with pets at home. Avoiding stale, uncooked and undercooked plant and animal products in food can also effectively ensure to ward off the disease from affecting anybody.