Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is an infectious intestinal disease that causes recurring epidemics including many countries of Europe and in the USA. The disease is usually not lethal, but it may cause unpleasant troubles and threaten children or the elderly.

Causes

The disease is caused by an infection by bacterium known as salmonella enteritidis. This bacterium belongs to a whole group of microorganism that may cause even other diseases such as the typhus. Salmonella enteritidis can be found in milk, eggs and foods containing (egg mayonnaise). The infection is usually related to a poor hygienic standard and inadequate cooking as the heat preparation of meals effectively destroys the bacteria. When the food containing salmonella bacteria is ingested, the microorganisms get into the intestine and attack its wall causing local inflammation.

Symptoms

The infection manifests with fever and diarrhea with watery stools. The stool is liquid, greenish and it may contain mucus or blood. The patient also suffers from abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. In patients with seriously weakened immune system (such as those with AIDS), the infections may spread into the bloodstream causing dangerous sepsis, which can be even fatal.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis can be confirmed by microbiological examination of the stool with a positive proving the salmonella presence. Any information about recent ingestion of any suspicious food is also valuable.

Prevention

The best prevention is to eat only adequately cooked food from reliable sources (especially dairy and egg products).

Treatment

The treatment is usually only symptomatic. Bed rest and adequate fluid intake to prevent dehydration are sufficient in the majority of patients. Intestinal disinfectants may be used as a supportive therapy. Antibiotics should be reserved only for more serious cases.