Salmonellosis is an infection of the gastrointestinal
system caused by Salmonella bacteria.
infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and
abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after being
exposed to the bacteria.
The illness usually lasts four
to seven days and most people recover without
treatment. Some people develop diarrhea so severe
that hospitalization is required.
Not all people
infected with Salmonella will become sick but
asymptomatic people may excrete the bacteria and
become a source of infection for others.
How is Salmonella transmitted?
Salmonella bacteria live in the intestinal tracts of
humans and animals, including birds and reptiles.
Salmonella bacteria are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces.
Contaminated foods usually look and smell
Contaminated foods are often of animal origin:
unpasteurized dairy products
All foods, including fruits and
vegetables may become contaminated.
Cooking food thoroughly kills Salmonella.
Food may also become
contaminated by the hands of an infected person
who does not properly wash his or her hands with
soap after using the bathroom.
Salmonella may also be found in the feces of some
pets, especially those with diarrhea, and people can
become infected if they do not wash their hands after
contact with these animals.
Reptiles are particularly
likely to harbor Salmonella and people should
always wash their hands immediately after handling
a reptile, even if the reptile is healthy.
Reptiles (including turtles) are not appropriate pets for small
children and should not be in the same house as an infant. See Repitle-Associated Salmonellosis webpage for more information.
Should people with salmonellosis be excluded
from work or school?
An infected person may spread salmonellosis for
several days to months. People with diarrhea should
not attend childcare/school or go to work. Most infected people may return to work/school when
their diarrhea stops if they properly wash their
hands after using the toilet.
Food handlers and
child care workers must be excluded from work until
they have submitted two consecutive stool
specimens that are negative for Salmonella bacteria.
How can salmonellosis be prevented?
There is no vaccine to prevent salmonellosis.
foods of animal origin may be contaminated with
Salmonella, people should not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry or meat:
Raw eggs are often used in foods such as:
Caesar and other homemade salad dressings
homemade ice cream
and meat, including hamburgers, should be well cooked,
not pink in the middle.
People also should
not consume unpasteurized (raw) milk or other
Fruits and vegetables should be
thoroughly washed before consuming.
Cross-contamination of foods should be avoided.
Uncooked meats should be kept separate from fruit,
vegetables, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods.
Hands, cutting boards, counters, knives, and other
utensils should be washed thoroughly after handling
Hands should be washed before
handling any food, and between handling different
People who have salmonellosis should not
prepare/serve food or beverages for others until
they have been shown to no longer be carrying
Always wash your hands with soap and warm water
for at least 20 seconds before and after handling
food, using the toilet, after changing diapers, and after playing with pets.
Where can I get more information?
Contact your doctor or the Office of
Epidemiology at the Southern Nevada Health District at