Communicable Diseases - Salmonellosis

Communicable Disease Prevention and Control

Salmonellosis - Food and Water Borne Diseases

Salmonellosis is an intestinal infection caused by the salmonella bacteria. The effects of the disease can range from mild to severe. In the worst cases, the disease spreads to the blood stream and can cause death.

The disease is transmitted by eating food from infected animals or through the fecal contamination of food from an animal or person with the disease. Potential sources of infection include raw and undercooked eggs; raw milk and raw milk products; contaminated water; and meat and meat products. Raw fruits and vegetables may also be a source if contamination occurs when the produce is sliced.

The incidence of salmonellosis in Nova Scotia has remained relatively stable over the last decade, peaking at 20 cases per 100,000 population in 2001 and decreasing slightly since then. Many reported cases of salmonella are travel-related.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

What is the treatment?

Usually salmonella infections do not need to be medically treated, and recovery occurs in 5 to 7 days. In severe cases, people may need to be hospitalized to receive fluids and antibiotics.

How Salmonellosis be prevented?

You can prevent a salmonella infection by:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water after using the toilet, changing diapers, touching pets, and before and after handling foods
  • Eating only well-cooked meats, poultry, or eggs
  • Eating only milk or cheese that is pasteurized.
  • Keeping raw foods away from cooked foods; by washing cutting boards and utensils; and not reusing meat trays or other packaging