Enteric infections due to Salmonella bacteria are generally referred to by the term ‘salmonellosis’ when they are due to Salmonella species other than Salmonella typhi and Salmonella paratyphi.
Various animals (especially poultry, pigs, cattle, and reptiles) can be reservoirs for Salmonella, and humans generally become infected by eating poorly cooked, contaminated food. The incubation period and the symptoms depend on the amount of bacteria present in the food, the immune status of the person and the type of Salmonella.
In general, 12 to 36 hours after the consumption of contaminated food, a clinical picture characterised by fever, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting may appear. Symptoms usually last for a few days. Due to the effects of dehydration, hospital admission may sometimes be required. In the elderly and otherwise weak patients death sometimes occurs. Elderly patients are also more prone to developing severe blood infection. In addition, post-infectious complications, such as reactive joint inflammation occur in about 10% of the cases.
Diarrhoea-causing Salmonellae are present worldwide. Prophylactic measures are aimed at all stages of food supply, from production to distribution and consumption.