Salmonella poisoning?

Foodborne Illness Caused by Salmonella Bacteria

As the United States enters the warm spring months followed by the sizzling summer months, the causes, symptoms, and prevention of food poisoning due to Salmonella are warranted. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that Salmonella bacteria cause 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States every year1. Food is the major source of Salmonella illnesses.

Symptoms of Salmonella Food Poisoning2

Most people infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramping within six hours to six days after consuming food contaminated with the bacteria. Some people may experience nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Most people will recover without treatment after four to seven days post-onset of symptoms.  However, young children under five years, adults older than 65 years, and patients with weakened immune systems may experience more severe symptoms that require medical intervention and/or hospitalization.

When Should Medical Treatment Be Sought2?

If symptoms become severe, people should seek medical treatment. Severe symptoms include diarrhea with a fever higher than 102ºF, bloody stools, prolonged vomiting where liquids cannot be kept in the stomach, and signs of dehydration that includes very little urine voided, dry mouth, and dizziness upon standing.

Salmonella Food Poisoning Diagnosis3,4

Salmonella infection is diagnosed using a laboratory test that detects the bacteria in a person’s stool, bodily tissues, or fluids. The laboratory could use a culture that isolates the bacteria or a molecular test that detects the genetic material of the bacteria4.

When Salmonella infection is positive, the laboratory must report the results and send samples to the state public health laboratory for serotyping and DNA fingerprinting. Once confirmed, the public health laboratory must report the results to the CDC for infection surveillance in cases where there may be a large outbreak of illness due to contaminated food.

Salmonella Food Poisoning Treatment3

Most people recover from the infection without treatment. Antibiotics are used to treat people with severe illnesses. In rare instances, the infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other parts of the body and can cause death if not treated promptly with antibiotics.

Salmonella Food Poisoning Prevention5

There are five fast facts published by the CDC. They are:

  1. Salmonella infection can come from a variety of foods such as sprouts, vegetables, eggs, chicken, pork, fruits, and nut butters regardless if the food is fresh, frozen, or canned. These foods can look and smell normal but still be contaminated.
  2. Salmonella can spread from animals to people and from people to people. Hand washing is the easiest way to prevent bacterial spread. Petting zoos, farms, fairs, schools, and daycares are prime locations to find salmonella
  3. Salmonella illness is more common in the summer months. Unrefrigerated foods in warm weather are an ideal breeding ground for Salmonella bacteria to proliferate.
  4. Salmonella illness can be serious for certain people such as young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.
  5. Salmonella causes more illnesses than suspected. For every person with a confirmed illness, the CDC estimates that 30 additional people do not seek medical attention.

Recent Salmonella Outbreaks6

A salmonella outbreak was reported in January 2024 linked to charcuterie meats from two providers. The Busseto Charcuterie Sampler contains prosciutto, sweet soppressata, and dry coppa and was sold at Sam’s club. The Fratelli Beretta Antipasto Gran Beretta contains black pepper-coated dry salami, Italian dry salami, dry coppa, and prosciutto and was sold at Costco. The CDC issued a Food Safety Alert while their investigation is ongoing. The food vendors pulled the products from the shelf and people were told not to consume these products.


DTPM’s Mission

DTPM’s mission is to help laboratories with testing supplies for bacterial and viral agents that cause gastrointestinal infections. The DTPM Gastrointestinal (GI) Test Kit is a molecular test kit that includes a target for Salmonella species detection in addition to other infectious agents.**

DTPM also offers DNA/RNA purification kits to extract DNA/RNA from infectious agents prior to molecular testing. General testing supplies such as gloves, lint-free wipes, molecular testing supplies, and pipet tips are also available. Contact us today to learn how DTPM can help your laboratory achieve successful and efficient operations.

**For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.