Salmonellosis is an infection caused by the bacteria called Salmonella. There are many different strains of Salmonella bacteria. S. Enteritidis, S. Typhimurium and S. Heidelberg are the most common Salmonella subtypes in Ontario.
Salmonellosis is transmitted primarily through ingestion of food or water contaminated by the feces of animals or through contact with infected persons. Transmission can also occur through direct or indirect contact with birds and reptiles. Fecal-oral transmission from person-to-person has also been observed when diarrhea is present, especially in institutional settings.
Symptoms generally appear six to 72 hours after exposure, and may include abdominal pain, fever and diarrhea. Symptoms usually last from four to seven days. While almost anyone could become infected, infants, young children, the elderly, and those with impaired immune systems or low stomach acid levels are at greatest risk of severe illness and complications.
Salmonellosis can be prevented by cooking meats, poultry and eggs thoroughly, avoiding unpasteurized milk, by washing hands before and after handling food, after using the washroom and after exposure to animals and their environments (for example, on farms or at petting zoos).