Salmonellosis is the disease caused by infection with bacteria called Salmonella. In Australia, most Salmonella infections occur after eating contaminated food or sometimes after contact with another person with the infection. Safe food handling, including thorough cooking of meat, poultry and eggs, and good hand hygiene can prevent infection.
Salmonellosis is the disease caused by infection with bacteria called Salmonella. In Australia, most Salmonella infections occur after eating contaminated food or sometimes after contact with another person with the infection.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection include headache, fever, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms often start 6-72 hours after exposure to the bacteria and usually last for 4-7 days but can sometimes last much longer.
Salmonella bacteria are mainly spread to humans through under-cooked food made from infected animals (that is, meat, poultry, eggs, and their by-products). Spread by 'cross-contamination' occurs when Salmonella contaminates ready to eat food: for example, when food that will not be cooked further is cut with a contaminated knife. Salmonella bacteria can spread from person-to-person if hands are not washed properly, particularly when preparing foood. It can also be spread from animals to humans.
Anyone can get Salmonella. Infants, the elderly, and people with poor immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
Thorough cooking of food kills Salmonella. Avoid raw or undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs. Poultry and meat - such as hamburgers, sausages, and rolled roasts - should be cooked until there is no pink visible in the middle.
Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the toilet, changing nappies, touching animals, before and after handling food and before eating. Particular attention should be given to the area under the fingernails and between fingers.
Infected food handlers can shed large numbers of Salmonella. They should not handle or serve food until 48 hours after the diarrhoea has stopped.
Poor food storage can allow Salmonella to grow. Refrigerated food should be kept at less than five degrees Celsius. Hot foods should be kept hot at above 60 degrees Celsius. Reheated foods should be quickly reheated until all parts of the food are steaming hot. Thawing frozen foods should be done in a fridge or microwave. The longer you leave food at room temperature the more Salmonella can multiply.
To prevent the contamination of food:
Diagnosis made by collecting a stool (poo) sample to test for the bacteria.
Most people recover without medical treatment by geting lots of rest and drinking plent of fluids such as water or oral hydration drinks (from your pharmacist). Most people recover within about a week.
You should see a doctor if:
Laboratories are required to notify cases of Salmonella infection to the local Public Health Unit. The public health units investigate clusters of cases to try and identify common links. Where a common food is implicated the NSW Food Authority will undertake a further environmental investigation and initiate control measures. Statistics on cases are used to help develop prevention strategies.
The NSW Food Authority is responsible for a range of food safety strategies to prevent salmonellosis and other food borne infections.
If you need non-urgent medical advice call healthdirect for free (24 hours) on 1800 022 222 or speak to your local pharmacist.
If you need to contact your local Public Health Unit, call 1300 066 055 or visit the NSW Health website.