Salmonellosis Fact Sheets

Minnesota Department of Health
May, 2009

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Salmonellosis Fact Sheet (PDF: 32KB/1 page)

What is it?

Salmonella is a bacterium that causes a diarrheal illness called salmonellosis.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, and fever. Sometimes people infected with Salmonella have no symptoms at all. Symptoms usually begin 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.

How long does it last?

The symptoms usually last for 4 to 7 days. Treatment for salmonellosis may be available from your health care provider. People with mild symptoms usually recover on their own without treatment.

How is it spread?

Salmonella lives in the intestines of animals or humans. It can be found in water, food, soil, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces of infected humans or animals. 

People can become infected with Salmonella by:

  • Eating foods contaminated with the bacteria.
    • Contaminated foods are often of animal origin, such as beef, poultry, unpasteurized milk, or eggs.
    • Vegetables may also be contaminated.
    • Food may be contaminated by an infected food handler.
  • Contact with farm animals or pets (including reptiles, baby chicks, and ducklings), animal feces, or animal environments.
  • Touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their mouth or putting a contaminated object into their mouth.
  • Not washing hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers and then eating foods.
  • Drinking raw, unpasteurized milk or contaminated water.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

  • Contact your health care provider.
  • Wash your hands often.

How can I prevent salmonellosis?

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat.
  • Use pasteurized eggs to prepare foods that don’t require cooking, such as:
    •  Hollandaise sauce
    • Caesar and other homemade dressings
    • Homemade ice cream
    • Homemade mayonnaise
    • Frosting
  • Prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen by washing hands, cutting boards, countertops, knives, utensils, and other surfaces after handling raw foods.
  • Separate raw meats, poultry, and seafood from vegetables and cooked foods.
  • Do not drink unpasteurized milk.
  • Wash and/or peel fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds
    • After using the bathroom
    • After changing diapers
    • After touching animals
    • Before eating
    • Before preparing food
      • Wash your hands more often when someone in your household is sick.
  • Avoid preparing food for others while you have symptoms.

Updated Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 09:56AM