Salmonella is a gram negative, non-spore forming bacterium that causes a serious gastrointestinal disease ‘Salmonellosis’. The bacteria may be present on kitchen tops with poor hygienic conditions, contaminated food and water and in the excretions of infected animals and human beings. The disease may also spread through pet reptiles like lizards, turtles, iguanas etc.
The common mode of transmission is through eating raw food items or stale food items, eating with unwashed hands and coming in direct contact with the secretions of the infected person.
Children are the most susceptible host of the bacterium. They easily catch the infection and develop symptoms of the disease.
Most of the times the infection caused by salmonella is non typhoid in origin but this is not the case always. A typical patient of non-typhoid salmonella will complain of fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. The symptoms are self limiting in nature and generally subside after 3 days of infection.
But in typhoid salmonella infection, the symptoms may persist for more than a week and show typical signs of typhoid like enlarged liver and spleen and rose-spots over the body.
Hands should be frequently washed and that too properly. Before eating and after handling a baby diaper or after toilet, proper care should be taken.
Food should be properly cooked before eating. Avoid eating street sides at the times of outbreak of the disease.
Pets should be handled carefully.
The disease is often self limiting and resolves within 3 days of infection.
Plenty of fluids and ORS solution should be given to counter the fluid loss from the body.
Acetaminophen can be administered for symptomatic relief.
The bacterium is present in uncooked food and unhygienic kitchen surfaces. Maintaining good hygienic conditions and properly cooking food can considerably lower the incidences of infection.Navtej Kohli MD