Salmonella (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/12/2012

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Salmonella - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms and signs you experienced with Salmonella infection?
Salmonella - Treatments Question: What treatment has been effective for your Salmonella poisoning?
Salmonella - Experience Question: Did you get a diagnosed Salmonella infection from eggs? Please discuss your experience.

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!