Salmonellosis is a reportable disease in Oklahoma. Salmonellosis is a diarrheal illness caused by an infection with the bacteria Salmonella. Symptoms are characterized by diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, headache, muscle aches, nausea and sometimes vomiting. Blood is sometimes found in the stool. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, but can last as long as two weeks. In rare cases, Salmonella bacteria may enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body. People with compromised immune systems, infants less than one year old, and the elderly are more likely than other people to experience severe or prolonged symptoms. Testing a stool sample for the presence of Salmonella bacteria is the most common way salmonellosis is diagnosed. When the disease has entered the bloodstream or other parts of the body, it can also be detected in specimens collected based on the disease.
Salmonella bacteria live in a wide range of environments. Many kinds of pets and livestock, including dogs, cats, lizards, snakes, iguanas, tortoises, turtles, chicks, cattle, ducks, chickens, geese, and pigs can be infected with Salmonella. But not all of these animals have symptoms like humans, and some may carry the bacteria for long periods of time. Humans can become infected from animals when they come into contact with animal feces or droppings, or objects that have been contaminated with animal feces. In addition, meat, milk, and eggs from infected animals can cause illness in humans when they are not thoroughly cooked, or when cross-contamination of food occurs.
Once infected, people can transmit the disease to others if they do not wash their hands properly after using the bathroom. When a person ingests enough Salmonella bacteria to cause illness, symptoms usually begin 12 to 36 hours later. The earliest symptoms may start in 6 hours, and rarely more than 72 hours after infection. A person is able to infect others once he or she starts having diarrhea.
How to prevent salmonellosis:
- Raw poultry, beef and pork should always be treated as if they are contaminated and handled accordingly.
- Wrap fresh meats in plastic bags at the market to prevent blood from dripping on other foods.
- Refrigerate foods promptly; minimize holding at room temperature.
- Cutting boards and counters used for preparation should be washed immediately after use to prevent cross-contamination with other foods.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked meats.
- Ensure that the correct internal cooking temperature is reached, particularly when using a microwave.
- Avoid eating raw eggs or undercooking foods containing raw eggs.
- Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk.
- Encourage careful handwashing before and after food preparation.
- Supervise handwashing in children, particularly after touching animals.
- People working with animals should have separate work and non-work clothes, and should avoid tracking animal manure indoors.
- Do not keep reptiles or amphibians (e.g., turtles, frogs, snakes, lizards, iguanas, etc.) as pets in homes with immunocompromised persons or young children.
Salmonella Fact Sheets and Information:
Salmonella Fact Sheet (46k.pdf)
Salmonella Hoja Informativa (40k.pdf)
External Salmonella Resources:
Healthy Pets Healthy People-Salmonella Infection & Animals (CDC)
Healthy Pets Healthy People-For High Risk Groups (CDC)
Poultry Poster (CDC)
Hoja Informativa CDC USDA Polleria (CDC)
Food Safety Education (USDA)
FirstGov Food Safety