Salmonellosis is an infection mainly caused by eating food contaminated with a bacteria called salmonella. Infection can also occur as a result of contact with an animal carrying the bacteria, even if the animal is neither sick nor has symptoms. Salmonella mainly causes intestinal diseases in humans. There are several kinds of salmonella.
The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are the following:
Symptoms generally appear 6 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food or coming into contact with an animal carrying the bacteria. Symptoms usually last 3 to 7 days.
After symptoms have subsided, salmonella can remain in the intestine for several weeks, and even months. People with salmonella in their intestines are ‘carriers’ of the bacteria. They can still spread the disease even when they no longer have symptoms.
Most people infected heal without antibiotic treatment.
People with diarrhea must drink a lot of fluids to avoid being dehydrated. To know more about this, go to the Rehydrating When You Have Gastroenteritis page.
Some people with more severe symptoms may have to be hospitalised and treated with antibiotics.
It can take many weeks for some people’s intestines to function properly again. In rare cases, the infection can lead to more serious consequences such as infection of the blood and, exceptionally, arthritis or meningitis (infection of membranes that surround the brain).
The bacterium that causes salmonellosis lives in the intestines of some humans and animals, including birds.
Salmonellosis is an illness spread in 3 ways:
Though all foods can be contaminated with salmonella, the following are those most often infected:
Here are some tips to prevent salmonellosis:
You can protect yourself from salmonellosis and avoid transmission through simple hygiene measures:
For further information on habits to take when handling and storing foods, see the Guide du consommateur de l'épicerie à la maison (in French only) on the ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) website.
The disease can affect the entire population. However, it can affect most severely:
A recall is a warning published about a food when the consumption of it is considered to be dangerous to health. If you have eaten food that is subject to a recall and show symptoms in the 3 days that follow, contact Info-Santé 811 or your doctor.
To know the list of recalled foods, visit the websites of the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) (in French only) or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency .
Salmonellosis is a reportable disease in Quebec. When a laboratory test reveals the presence of salmonella in a specimen from an infected person, the laboratory must inform public health authorities in their region.
Last update: March 14, 2016 2:22 PM
The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 811 or see a health professional.