Salmonellosis, Frequently Asked Questions (cont.)
Are there long term consequences to a Salmonella infection?
Persons with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it may be several
months before their bowel habits are entirely normal. A small number of persons
who are infected with Salmonella, will go on to develop pains in their joints,
irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. This is called Reiter's syndrome.
It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis which is
difficult to treat. Antibiotic treatment does not make a difference in whether
or not the person later develops arthritis.
What else can be done to prevent salmonellosis?
It is important for the public health department to know about cases of
salmonellosis. It is important for clinical laboratories to send isolates of
Salmonella to the City, County, or State Public Health Laboratories so the
specific type can be determined and compared with other Salmonella in the
community. If many cases occur at the same time, it may mean that a restaurant,
food or water supply has a problem which needs correction by the public health
Some prevention steps occur everyday without you thinking about it.
Pasteurization of milk and treating municipal water supplies are highly
effective prevention measures that have been in place for many years. In the
1970s, small pet turtles were a common source of salmonellosis in the United
States, and in 1975, the sale of small turtles was halted in this country.
Improvements in farm animal hygiene, in slaughter plant practices, and in
vegetable and fruit harvesting and packing operations may help prevent
salmonellosis caused by contaminated foods. Better education of food industry
workers in basic food safety and restaurant inspection procedures, may prevent
cross-contamination and other food handling errors that can lead to outbreaks.
Wider use of pasteurized egg in restaurants, hospitals, and nursing homes is an
important prevention measure. In the future, irradiation or other treatments may
greatly reduce contamination of raw meat.
What is the government doing about salmonellosis?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitors the frequency
of Salmonella infections in the country and assists the local and State Health
Departments to investigate outbreaks and devise control measures. CDC also
conducts research to better identify specific types of Salmonella. The Food and
Drug Administration inspects imported foods, milk pasteurization plants,
promotes better food preparation techniques in restaurants and food processing
plants, and regulates the sale of turtles. The FDA also regulates the use of
specific antibiotics as growth promotants in food animals. The US Department of
Agriculture monitors the health of food animals, inspects egg pasteurization
plants, and is responsible for the quality of slaughtered and processed meat.
The US Environmental Protection Agency regulates and monitors the safety of our
drinking water supplies.
How can I learn more about this and other public health problems?
Last Editorial Review: 12/30/2004
You can discuss any medical concerns you may have with your doctor or other
heath care provider. Your local City or County Health Department can provide
more information about this and other public health problems that are occurring
in your area. General information about the public health of the nation is
published every week in the "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report",
by the CDC in Atlanta, GA. Epidemiologist in your local and State Health
Departments are tracking a number of important public health problems,
investigating special problems that arise, and helping to prevent them from
occurring in the first place, or from spreading if they do occur.
This information has been provided with the kind permission of the Centers
for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov).