Salmonella are bacteria that cause food poisoning, 1.2 million infections and 450 deaths annually in the United States alone 1. While the bacteria can affect anyone, infections are more serious in people with underdeveloped or weak immune systems. These include infants and young children, the elderly and those with other serious illnesses like cancer and conditions like HIV.
Salmonella are transmitted to humans through contaminated food and are responsible for a majority of foodborne illnesses. The bacteria are found in the guts of domestic animals from where they get into milk, meat, eggs and poultry. Salmonella can also get into fruit, vegetables and fish through contamination with animal manure and sewerage. They may also be transmitted through contact with pets like tortoises and other reptiles, rodents, cats and dogs. Person to person transmission can also occur due to poor hygiene.
Symptom #1: Vomiting
Vomiting is one of the common symptoms of salmonella infection. Because salmonella affects the digestive system, vomiting is one of the common symptoms of infection. Vomiting causes the patient to lose fluids and may lead to dehydration. This can have serious consequences especially in young children and other patients with compromised immunity. For this reason, if you suspect salmonella infection in young children, the elderly and persons with illnesses like cancer and HIV, take them to hospital without delay. Meanwhile, you should give them fluids to help them rehydrate.
In relatively healthy individuals, salmonella is a minor illness that clears even without treatment. However, if you have vomiting or diarrhea, it is recommended that you consult a doctor for treatment.