Join for Just $16 A Year
- Discounts on travel and everyday savings
- Subscription to AARP The Magazine
- Free membership for your spouse or partner
Salmonella food poisoning is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation (swelling) of the lining of the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis). The causative bacteria is called Salmonella. While domestic and wild animals, including poultry, pigs, cattle, and pets such as turtles, iguanas, chicks, dogs, and cats can transmit this illness, most people become infected by ingesting foods contaminated with significant amounts of the causative bacteria.
Improperly handled or undercooked poultry and eggs are the foods which most frequently cause salmonella food poisoning. Chickens are a major carrier of salmonella bacteria, which accounts for its prominence in poultry products. However, identifying foods which may be contaminated with salmonella is particularly difficult
At one time, it was thought that salmonella bacteria were only found in eggs which had cracked, thus allowing the bacteria to enter. Ultimately, it was learned that, because the egg shell has tiny pores, even uncracked eggs which sat for a time on a surface (nest) contaminated with salmonella could themselves become contaminated. It is known also that the bacteria can be passed from the infected female chicken directly into the substance of the egg before the shell has formed around it.
Anyone may contract salmonella food poisoning, but the disease is most serious in infants, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems. In these individuals, the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites, causing death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. In addition, people who have had part or all of their stomach or their spleen removed or who have sickle cell anemia, cirrhosis of the liver, leukemia, lymphoma, malaria, louse-borne relapsing fever, or acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are particularly susceptible to salmonella food poisoning.
Author Info: Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt MD, Thomson Gale, Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health, 2006This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare professional with any health concerns you may have.
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.
Member access to health and insurance products and services at AARPhealthcare.com.
Members can get an instant quote with AARP® Dental Insurance administered by Delta Dental Insurance Company.
Members can save on eyewear with AARP® Vision Discounts provided by EyeMed.
Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.