doctor talking about patient about what she needs to know about salmonellosis

Salmonellosis: 10 Terms to Know

Salmonellosis is an infection of Salmonella bacteria. One of the most common foodborne illnesses, Salmonella is carried by a variety of animals and can easily wind up traveling from the barnyard into the kitchen. With careful hygiene and food care, salmonellosis can be prevented. Although it is not generally fatal, it is important to understand the illness in order to be safe. Here are ten terms involving salmonellosis to be familiar with. 

  1. Salmonella Typhi: Salmonella bacteria is a member of the Enterobacteriaceae. It is composed of two species, which are broken into subspecies. Of these, the biggest differences are the serotypes that affect the potential for infection. Salmonella serotype typhi is directly responsible for Typhoid fever, which carries a potential to be fatal, particularly in the developing countries where it is more common.   
  2. Salmonella Typhimurium: Mildly less serious than S. Typhi, S. Typhimurium used to be the most common foodborne form of salmonellosis. It generally lasts for about a week and infects the gastrointestinal tract. Although it generally runs its course without lasting effect in healthy adults, special populations may be more susceptible to fatality. 
  3. Salmonella Enteritidis: S. Enteritidis “has become the single most common cause of food poisoning in the United States” in the last 20 years, according to Salmonella.org. Presenting similarly to S. Typhimurium, it causes diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever, and head and muscle aches. This particular serotype can spread rapidly among chickens -- and can even spread through the eggs of infected chickens.
  4. Enteritis: Enteritis, or gastroenteritis, is the medical term that applies to food poisoning. The small intestine becomes inflamed, although food poisoning is not the only cause of enteritis. In fact, some patients report that it takes several months for their gastrointestinal tract and bowel movements to return to normal following a bout of salmonellosis. 
  5. Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is similar to salmonellosis, but much more serious. In addition to the symptoms of salmonellosis, you can expect an abdominal rash, bloody noses, states of delirium, and blood in the stool. Typhoid fever has a good prognosis if treatment is begun early; the later the treatment, the more likely serious complications are to ensure. These complications can include kidney failure, peritonitis, and hemorrhaging in the gastrointestinal tract, all of which are potentially fatal in their own right.
  6. Reactive Arthritis: One of the potential complications of salmonellosis is reactive arthritis, or infectious arthritis. In severe cases, Salmonella can get into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. One such place is the joints, where it causes swelling, pain, and limited mobility, along with a fever. Additionally, it can turn into chronic arthritis, a painful and hard to treat condition. 
  7. Enterocolitis: Salmonella enterocolitis is effectively another name for the food poisoning form of salmonellosis (as opposed to typhoidal). Foods such as raw meat or poultry, chicken eggs, and seafood can all carry Salmonella, causing salmonella enterocolitis. In order to diagnose this illness, your doctor may perform blood tests, stool cultures, or test for specific antibodies. 
  8. Pasteurize: Salmonella can be transferred through animals, animal meat, eggs from a chicken with a Salmonella infection, or produce washed or watered with contaminated water. However, some recipes call specifically for raw animal products -- for example, eggnog recipes require raw eggs. In this case, using pasteurized products may help prevent salmonellosis infections. Pasteurization is a means of sterilizing food products, such as milk or eggs, so that they are safe for consuming in their “natural” state. 
  9. Antimicrobial Therapy: Antimicrobial therapy is a means of killing or preventing growth in bacterial (and other pathogen-induced) infections. Only preventing bacteria from growing is called microbiostatic therapy -- this can include the use of antibiotics. In any case, in most cases of enteritis caused by salmonellosis, this is discouraged, as it can actually result in the patient carrying the bacteria longer or bacteria that begins to become resistant to antibiotics. 
  10. Symptomatic Treatment: Since salmonellosis generally isn’t treated with antibiotics, unless the patient has a weaker immune system than normal, symptomatic treatment is generally the best treatment option. Essentially, symptomatic treatment doesn’t do much for the cause of the disease, but rather treats symptoms to make the patient more comfortable while it runs its course. For salmonellosis, this might mean taking an over the counter antidiarrheal, drinking plenty of water, and getting plenty of rest.