Disease Name

Salmonellosis

Vector Information

Salmonella is a bacteria that, when ingested, can cause a severe illness called Salmonellosis. This bacteria can cause severe gastrointestinal illness for several days. The only way to prevent salmonella infection is to not eat raw or undercooked meat or eggs and to wash hands after contact with raw meat, eggs, or reptiles.  

Infections are only treated with supportive care such as fluids. If the bacteria enters the bloodstream, the infection may become more severe and can lead to death. There are several serotypes of salmonella bacteria and each serotype results in different symptoms, although common symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Salmonella infections typically last 4 to 7 days and many people recover without treatment. In some cases, however, diarrhea can be severe enough that the individual needs to be hospitalized to receive supportive care. In rare cases, the bacteria may leave the intestinal tract and infect the blood causing infection in other body sites. This can cause death if not treated promptly with antibiotics. Elderly, infants, and immunocompromised individuals are at greatest risk of developing severe cases of the disease. In the majority of cases, complete recovery is achieved, but it may take several months for normal bowel habits to return. A rare side effect of salmonellosis is reactive arthritis which can last for months or years. Certain serotypes, referred to as typhoidal, can cause typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever. Salmonella typhi infections typical exhibit symptoms such as fever, head and muscle aches, constipation or diarrhea, exhaustion, and stomach pain. This type of salmonella infection does require medical treatment, and typically improves within 3 to 5 days of treatment. Salmonellosis is diagnosed by a healthcare practitioner who will use a clinical specimen such as stool or blood to confirm salmonella. There are currently no preventative vaccine or medication. Rats are great vectors of salmonella bacteria as they can pick the bacteria up on their feet and bodies in one location and infect every subsequent location.