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Salmonella

Photomicrograph of Salmonella

Electron micrograph of Salmonella

Pathogens & Protocols

Why it's a Threat

Salmonella is responsible for approximately 1.4 million cases of foodborne illness each year in the United States. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

Description

Gram-negative bacteria, straight rods approximately 0.5 micron wide and 2 microns long. Exists as a single organism, in pairs, or in short chains. May possess 1-5 flagella to assist in the invasion of human cells. Over 2,500 different serotypes have been identified – not all are pathogenic to humans.

Vehicles

Found in birds and reptiles, as well as undercooked eggs, poultry, meat products, and produce.

Prevention

  • Cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or poultry to a safe internal temperature. For a list of recommended temperatures for meat and poultry, visit Foodsafety.gov's safe minimum cooking temperatures chart web page.
  • Do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs, or raw (unpasteurized) milk.
  • If you are served undercooked meat, poultry or eggs in a restaurant, don't hesitate to send it back to the kitchen for further cooking. More

Remarks

Salmonella can infect many parts of the body by entering the blood stream. Its growing resistance to antibiotics hinders treatment.

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