Salmonellosis (Salmonella Infection) FAQs

Home   Data   Investigation   Reporting   Resources

What You Need to Know About Salmonellosis

What is salmonellosis?
Salmonellosis is an illness caused by Salmonella bacteria. There are many different species of Salmonella bacteria which can infect both humans and animals. The common symptoms are:

  • headache
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • sometimes vomiting

These symptoms may go away after several days but without antibiotic treatment the sick person may be able to pass the disease to others for up to two months. People who have salmonellosis should not take antidiarrhreal medicines because this may lengthen the amount of time they can pass the disease to other people.

How is salmonellosis spread?
By eating contaminated foods, drinking contaminated water, or having hand-to-mouth contact with the stool (feces) of an infected person or animal.

You are more likely to get salmonellosis if you:

  • eat raw or undercooked poultry, eggs, or raw milk products or drink raw milk or untreated water
  • are a child in day-care
  • work in a day-care facility or with diapered children
  • handle pets or livestock or clean their living areas

How do I protect myself?

  • Cook all poultry, eggs, and egg products thoroughly.
    • Whole poultry until temperature in the center is 180°F
    • Poultry breasts, 170°F (center no longer pink, juices clear)
    • Ground poultry, stuffing, leftovers, 165°F
    • Raw eggs, egg dishes, 160°F (egg whites firm, not runny)
    • Clean cutting boards and utensils used to prepare raw poultry or eggs before using them to prepare foods that will be eaten raw.

  • Always wash your hands:
    • after going to the restroom
    • after changing a baby's diaper, or touching anything soiled with stool (feces)
    • after handling pets/livestock or cleaning their living areas
    • before preparing or serving food

  • Avoid raw milk or raw milk products.
  • Avoid drinking water from ponds, lakes, rivers, or swimming pools.
  • Avoid sexual practices that put you in direct contact with stool.

What do I do if I think I have salmonellosis?
Drink plenty of fluids and get extra rest. Visit your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may want to take a sample of your stool to test for Salmonella bacteria, and may put you on a course of antibiotics. You should begin to feel better while taking the antibiotics. Children should not return to day care or school and foodhandlers should not return to work until diarrhea and fever go away.