Salmonella Food Poisoning (Salmonellosis)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

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Quick GuideSalmonella Outbreak

Salmonella Outbreak

What are symptoms and signs of Salmonella poisoning?

  • Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning usually begin 12-72 hours after infection.
  • Diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever are common symptoms.
  • The diarrhea is typically loose and not bloody. Nausea, vomiting, headache, and muscle aches may occur.
  • The symptoms usually go away on their own after four to seven days.

Is Salmonella contagious?

  • Many of the members of the bacterial genus Salmonella are contagious.
  • Salmonella food poisoning is usually acquired from eating contaminated foods. It is possible to spread the infection to others through fecal-oral contamination, meaning that fecal material contaminates the hands of an infected person who then contaminates foods that are consumed by others.

What is the incubation period for a Salmonella infection?

Symptoms usually begin 12-72 hours after infection.

What is the contagious period for salmonellosis?

Those with Salmonella infection can be contagious for days to weeks, even after symptoms have disappeared.

What kinds of doctors treat Salmonella food poisoning?

Salmonellosis may be treated by primary-care specialists, pediatricians, emergency-medicine specialists, or internal-medicine specialists. In severe or complicated cases, other specialists may be consulted, including gastroenterologists or critical-care specialists.

How do physicians diagnose Salmonella food poisoning?

Many infections can cause similar symptoms, so diagnosis of Salmonella infection requires identification of the organism in a stool sample from the affected person. Specific tests can be done to identify the exact type of Salmonella responsible for an infection.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/3/2016

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