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Salmonella (Enteritidis and Typhimurium)

Germ type: Bacteria

Salmonella cause the salmonellosis infection. There are 2,000 types of salmonella bacteria; most live in the intestinal tracks of animals or birds. Salmonella has been a known source of foodborne illness for over 100 years. Salmonella Enteritidis is commonly known for its ability to infect unhatched eggs (passed on by the mother hen); Salmonella Typhimurium is a virulent strain that is resistant to many antibiotics.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Although most people recover without treatment, symptoms can be very severe for those in at-risk groups, and can require hospitalization. In these at-risk patients — including elderly, young babies and those with impaired/suppressed immune systems — the infection can spread to the bloodstream and other parts of the body, and must be treated with antibiotiocs.

  • Spread via: Eating raw or undercooked poultry, meat or eggs; eating contaminated dairy products or produce. Salmonella can also be spread through cross contamination from hands, utensils and food preparation surfaces. For example: if raw chicken that is contaminated with Salmonella is prepared on a cutting board, and then the same cutting board is used to cut up vegetables for a salad, the bacteria from the chicken contaminate the salad.
  • Prevention: Cook poultry, ground beef and eggs to safe internal temperatures, especially when cooking for at-risk people. (Visit www.isitdoneyet.gov for guidelines.) Wash hands and clean and sanitize preparation surfaces and utensils immediately after contact with raw meat, poultry or eggs. For those in the at-risk group, avoid any contact (direct or indirect) with reptiles, who carry the bacteria.