Salmonellosis is a disease caused by the bacteria called Salmonella. In Australia, most Salmonella infections occur after eating contaminated food or sometimes after contact with another person with the infection. Handling food safely, including thorough cooking of meat, poultry and eggs, and good hand hygiene can prevent infection.
Salmonellosis (or Salmonella) is a 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 usually start 6-72 hours after exposure to the bacteria and usually last for 4-7 days. Symptoms can sometimes last a lot longer.
Salmonella is usually spread to humans by eating under-cooked food made from infected animals (for example undercooked meat, poultry and foods from animals such as eggs).
Salmonella can also be spread by:
Anyone can get Salmonella. Infants, the elderly, and people with poor immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
Cooking food well kills Salmonella. Avoid raw or undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs. Poultry and meat - such as hamburgers, sausages, and rolled roasts - should be cooked until you can see no pink 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. It is important to particularly clean under the fingernails and between fingers.
Infected food handlers can spread the bacteria easily. They should not handle or serve food until 48 hours after the diarrhoea has stopped.
Not storing food properly can allows the bacteria to grow.
To prevent contamination:
The longer you leave food at room temperature the more Salmonella can multiply.
To prevent the contamination of food:
A doctor will tell you if you have Salmonella by running a test on a faeces (poo) sample.
Most people recover by having lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids such as water or oral hydration drinks (from your pharmacist). Most people recover within a week.
You should contact your doctor if:
Most people do not need antibiotics. Antibiotics may be prescribed for young children or older people. Some people may require hospitalisation.
Laboratories are required to notify cases of Salmonella infections 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 found the NSW Food Authority will undertake a further environmental investigation and put in 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.