How does salmonella spread?

3 July 2015
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3 July 2015, Comments: 0

Salmonella is one of the main causes of food poisoning among humans. There are over thousands of bacteria that make up salmonella. One way in which an individual can acquire salmonella is via direct contact and consumption of food infected with the bacteria. A good example of direct contact includes handling or touching certain reptiles and amphibians such as turtles, lizards and snake. Those who keep any of these animals as pets must observe regular hand washing after handling them.

Most of these animals carry salmonella on their skin. This is why it is easy for humans to acquire the bacteria. Direct contact with an uncooked egg, raw meat and unpasteurized milk can also spread the bacteria. The best way to avoid any form of direct contact with salmonella is to wash hands right away as well as cleanse all contaminated surfaces after every use. Surfaces that are reused in the kitchen such as countertops must be cleansed using a bleach and water solution to eliminate the bacteria.

Indirect contact

Indirect contact is another way to acquire the salmonella bacteria. Many individuals may experience indirect contact and not even know about it. In most cases, it is through contaminated animal feces that reach the soil, farm animals, vegetables and well water.


Some of the symptoms of salmonella include abdominal cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

Take note that this can also occur in areas where food is being stored. In case fresh vegetables and meat come in contact with cooked food, the individual might digest the salmonella bacteria. Some of the symptoms of salmonella include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Blood-streaked stools
  • Chills
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle cramps

Once the individual experiences any of these symptoms after eating a particular food, he/she has food poisoning. If the symptoms do not seem to subside or persist, it is best to seek medical care for further assessment and treatment.

Salmonella poisoning can often mimic gastrointestinal flu, thus many individuals do not throw away the source of the contaminant right away. Once the symptoms last for more than 48 hours, medical care is required. In most cases, professional testing can be performed to determine if it is salmonella poisoning and not the flu.

Contaminated food

Salmonella can also spread via contaminated and undercooked food. Some of the common carriers of salmonella include undercooked eggs, poultry, vegetables, dairy products, raw meat and water sources.

Extra care should be observed when preparing, cooking and serving these foods. When it comes to poultry and meat, it should be rinsed thoroughly before preparation or being cooked. It is vital that they are cooked completely so that there is no pink meat in the middle. All dairy products should undergo pasteurization in order to prevent the spread of salmonella. As for organic vegetables, they must be cleansed carefully before serving and consumption.

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