Foodborne Illness: Salmonella

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Foodborne Illness: Salmonella
SCI/162

What is the infectious agent (pathogen) that causes this infectious disease? For example, the name of the bacteria, virus or parasite.

Salmonella is a bacteria that was discovered more than one hundred years ago by a scientist named Dr. Daniel E. Salmon, who the bacteria is named after. The bacteria are living microscopic creatures that are found in the feces of people or animals and spread to other people or other animals. There are more than 2,000 strains of Salmonella, but Salmonella serotype Enteritidis and Salmonella serotype Typhimurium are the most common and they are the most common cause of food poisoning, or Salmonellosis, in the United States. Annually about 40,000 cases of Salmonellosis are reported and many more go unreported. 15,000 people are hospitalized and 400 people die every year from Salmonellosis. The CDC believes that for every case that is reported another 38.6 go undiagnosed every year.

How is this infectious agent transmitted through food or water?

The Salmonella bacteria lives in the intestinal tract of animals and humans and is transmitted though ingestion of contaminated raw foods and foods contaminated by feces. Food may be contaminated by someone infected with the disease or who did not wash their hands after using a restroom and then handled the food. Foods that are eaten raw or undercooked such as veggies, sprouts, beef, poultry,seafood, peanut butter, raw cookie dough or stuffing cooked inside the bird can all carry salmonella. Other food sources for salmonella are raw milk and other dairy products, eggs and lunch meats. Cross contamination of raw meat juices and uncooked foods such as veggies can is another source. Handling of pets such as reptiles, amphibians, hamsters, baby chicks and ducks or their feces and not washing your hands can also spread the bacteria. Infected people can infect others until their symptoms are all cleared up. Some people can carry Salmonella with...
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