Salmonellosis (nontyphoidal Salmonella)

Cause: Myriad serotypes in the bacterial genus Salmonella, excluding S. Typhi (see Typhoid).

Illness and treatment: Typical symptoms are fever, headache, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain, with or without vomiting. Most persons recover without treatment. Occasionally bacteria enter the bloodstream and infect internal organs. Treatment for severe cases is with antibiotics.

Sources: Healthy animals, especially reptiles, chickens, cattle, dogs and cats, can carry Salmonella chronically and be a direct source for human infection. Most human cases result from contaminated food. Common exposures include contaminated eggs, unpasteurized milk, poultry and produce. Person-to-person transmission can occur.

Additional risks: Illness including serious dehydration may be severe in the very young, the elderly, or those with chronic diseases. Incidence is highest in infants and young children.

Prevention: Use good food handling and personal hygiene practices, including thorough handwashing after contact with animals. Prevent contact between young children or persons with weakened immune systems and reptiles, farm animals, or birds.

Recent Washington trends: Salmonellosis is the second most common notifiable enteric infection with around 600 to 850 cases reported per year. Infections occur all year with some increase during the spring and summer months. Many serotypes are reported.

Purpose of Reporting and Surveillance

  • To prevent further transmission from cases.
  • To identify outbreaks and potential sources of ongoing transmission.
  • To prevent further transmission from such sources.

Legal Reporting Requirements

  • Health care providers: notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 24 hours
  • Health care facilities: notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 24 hours
  • Laboratories: Salmonella species notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 24 hours; specimen submission required – culture (2 business days)
  • Local health jurisdiction: notifiable to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Office of Communicable Disease Epidemiology (CDE) within 7 days of case investigation completion or summary information required within 21 days