Salmonella infection is a bacterial disease that can cause severe gastroenteritis or intestinal infection. Symptoms usually start 12-72 hours after eating food that has been contaminated. Fever, severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration can occur. Most people recover from this illness without needing to be hospitalized. Some more vulnerable people, such as young children or the elderly, can become more ill. They may need intravenous hydration and antibiotics. The illness usually lasts 4-7 days.
The infection starts in hens, which pass the bacteria to their eggs. The shell and appearance of the eggs look no different from uninfected eggs. The bacteria can be killed by cooking the eggs properly. The eggs should be kept in refrigerators at less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Once cooked, eggs should not be left out for more than an hour.
There are other ways for a person to become infected with salmonella. Undercooked meat, seafood, even fruits and vegetables that were washed with contaminated water can cause this infection. Other risk factors include international travel, contact with reptiles and birds, and chronic medical illnesses that decrease your immunity.
Please contact your physician for more information if you believe you have contracted a salmonella infection.