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Salmonellosis / Salmonella Enteritis 

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General info about Salmonellosis

Poor hygienic practices during cooking or handling of food products can cause this distressing infection of the intestines leading to diarrhea, cramps and fever.

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Salmonellosis or Salmonella Enteritis is an infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella Enterica. The Salmonella bacteria are a group of microorganisms consisting of several stereotypes. These bacteria, known to cause diarrheal illness in humans for over 100 years, are named after their discoverer, an American scientist called Salmon.

The bacterium, Salmonella Enterica is a gram -negative, rod -shaped flagellate that belongs to the genus Salmonella. S. Typhimurium is another common example.

These microbes usually get transmitted through the Oral-fecal route. Salmonella infection stems from handling or consuming unhygienic food and may also result from handling infected poultry or reptiles.

In the United States, approximately 40,000 cases of Salmonellosis are reported each year. People with impaired immune systems, the infants and the elderly are likely to be affected more severely.

Salmonellosis usually lasts for about 4 - 7 days, with a maximum duration of upto 2 weeks. Infected individuals develop fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps within 12 - 72 hours of being infected. The majority of them recover without treatment.

Some persons, however, may suffer from symptoms that are severe enough to warrant hospitalization. In these persons, the infection may enter the blood stream from the intestine, and then spread to other body sites. Death may result if prompt treatment is denied.

Diagnosis is based on a laboratory culture of the stool of the suspected individual. Normally, treatment comprises of rehydrating the individual; in severe cases antibodies are administered.

Cleanliness and hygienic practices hold the key to prevention of this illness.

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