Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Salmonella poisoning facts
- What is Salmonella?
- What are Salmonella poisoning symptoms?
- How is Salmonella transmitted to humans?
- What are the risk factors for Salmonella infections?
- What are the unique situations that allow Salmonella to contaminate eggs?
- How do Salmonella spp. cause disease in people?
- How are Salmonella infections diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for Salmonella poisoning?
- What are the prognosis (outcome) and complications for Salmonella infections?
- How can Salmonella infection be prevented?
- Where can I find more information about Salmonella?
- Salmonella Outbreak - Slideshow
- Take the Quiz: Summer Food Safety
- Pictures of Food Poisoning - Slideshow
- Summer Food Safety FAQs
What are Salmonella poisoning symptoms?
Salmonellosis (gastroenteritis characterized by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) is the most common disease caused by the organisms. Abdominal cramping also may occur. Blood may be present in the feces. Salmonellosis thus produces the symptoms that are commonly referred to as food poisoning. Symptoms usually begin about eight to 48 hours after ingestion of the bacteria. When a group of individuals who have access to the same food or water source suddenly develop these symptoms, Salmonella food poisoning is suggested. Although food poisoning is usually a mild disease, the nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can lead to dehydration and even death (about 500 per year in the U.S.). It is important to note that many other organisms (for example, viruses, E. coli, Shigella) and toxins (for example, botulism, mushroom toxin, or pesticides) can produce food poisoning symptoms. However, over 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis occur per year in the U.S., and the rest of industrialized countries have similar high rates. Countries with poor sanitation have a much higher incidence of salmonellosis. Unfortunately, the above symptoms can occur with many types of infectious organisms such as Shigella, Staphylococcus, Campylobacter, some additional bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
Typhoid fever may share some of the same symptoms initially as Salmonella poisoning, but for typhoid fever, this time period is often termed the prodromal period. Typhoid fever occurs when some of the Salmonella organisms (often identified as Salmonella typhi or S. typhi) are not killed by the normal human immune defenses (macrophage cells) after they enter the gastrointestinal tract. Salmonella then survive and grow in the human spleen, liver, and other organs and may reach the blood (bacteremia). A few individuals may show no symptoms, but typhoid fever symptoms usually develop about five to 21 days after initial infection. Salmonella can be shed from the liver to the gallbladder, where they can continue to survive and be secreted into the patient's feces for up to a year or more. Symptoms of typhoid include high fevers with temperatures reaching up to 104 F, sweating, inflammation of the stomach and intestines, and diarrhea. Symptoms usually resolve, but many patients (about 3%) become Salmonella carriers. Approximately half of patients develop slow heartbeat (bradycardia), and about 30% of patients get flat, slightly raised red or rose-colored spots on the chest and abdomen. Typhoid fever is also referred to as enteric fever.
Paratyphoid fever, like typhoid fever, is also termed enteric fever. Paratyphoid fever has symptoms like typhoid, but it's usually not as severe. Subtypes are A, B, and C and vary by having small changes in symptoms, such as more rose spots (A), gastroenteritis in conjunction with herpes labialis and gastroenteritis (B), rarely, with septicemia and abscesses (C), S. paratyphi is the organism that causes this disease.
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