Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or those undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.
This outbreak strain of Salmonella is resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics and its resistance can increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.
To prevent foodborne illness, take the following precautions:
- Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away.
- Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
- Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal temperature for meat such as beef and pork is 160° F, and 165° F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer.
- Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.