Salmonella gastroenteritis is the most common form ofsalmonellosis. Salmonella gastroenteritis or food poisoning is generally a zoonotic disease, caused by certain species of non-typhoidal salmonellae, which are primarily animal pathogens. S. Typhimurium is the most common species causing the dis-ease in many parts of the world. Some other common species include S. Enteritidis,Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella Heidelberg, S. Agona, Salmonella Virchow, Salmonella Seftenberg, Salmonella Indiana, SalmonellaNewport, and S. Anatum.
Human infection usually occurs by consumption of contami-nated foods. The most common sources of salmonellae are milk and milk products, meat, poultry, and eggs. Of great concern are eggs and egg products. Salmonellae can enter through the shell if eggs are left on contaminated chicken feed or feces and grow inside. Droppings of rats, lizards, or other small animals may also cause food contamination. Improperly prepared fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and shellfish may cause infection if contaminated through manure or by unhygienic handling.
The incubation period is 6–72 hours. Nausea, vomiting, and loose watery stools are the common symptoms. Fever, abdominal cramps, myalgias, and headache are also common. Fever, which rarely exceeds 39ºC, occurs in approximately one-half of infected patients. Symptoms usually resolve spontaneously in 2–7 days.
Laboratory diagnosis is made by isolating the salmonellaefrom the feces by culture. In outbreaks of food poisoning, iso-lation of salmonellae from the food confirms the diagnosis.
Treatment of uncomplicated, noninvasive salmonellosis issymptomatic. Antimicrobial therapy is not indicated because it does not shorten the duration of illness. But for the serious invasive cases, antibiotic treatment is recommended. Treatment with antibiotics is recommended for:
· Salmonella gastroenteritis in infants below 3 months andin infants below 12 months with high fever and unknown blood culture results; and
· patients with hemoglobinopathies, HIV infection or other causes of immunosuppression, neoplasms, or chronic GI illnesses.
Ampicillin, amoxicillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, cefotax-ime, and ceftriaxone are effective for the treatment of the condition.
Prevention of food contamination at various levels, from nat-ural infection in the animal or bird, is important for prevention ofSalmonella gastroenteritis. Proper cooking of food is useful to destroy salmonellae contaminating the food preparations.