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Salmonellosis

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Salmonellosis in Arizona

In 2006, there were 949 cases of salmonellosis reported in Arizona, or 15.2 cases of Salmonella infection (excluding S. typhi and S. paratyphi) per 100,000 Arizona residents. 

Previous Outbreaks

  • Salmonella in Pot Pies
    One Arizona case was identified as part of a national outbreak of Salmonella associated with eating a specific brand of frozen chicken and turkey pot pies.  There were a total of 367 cases nationwide, with 76 hospitalizations and one death.  Illnesses began in January 2007, and the last cases were in November 2007.  The one Arizona case was an adult from Maricopa County, who recovered from the illness.  USDA issued a recall of the pot pies on 10/12/2007.
  • Salmonella and Peanut Butter
    Arizona had five cases related to the large multi-state outbreak of Salmonella serotype Tennessee. An epidemiologic study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that consumption of Peter Pan peanut butter and Great Value peanut butter were both statistically associated with illness. Product testing confirmed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Tennessee in opened jars of peanut butter obtained from ill persons.
  • Salmonella Oranienburg Outbreak in Cochise County
    The Cochise County Health Department, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) completed a joint investigation into an outbreak of Salmonella serotype Oranienburg occurring in the greater Sierra Vista area September 2006 through March 2007.

Questions and Answers about Salmonellosis

What is salmonellosis?
Salmonellosis is an infection caused by bacteria called Salmonella.

Who gets salmonellosis?
Anyone can get salmonellosis but children are the mostly like to get it. Young children, elderly, and immunocompromised individuals are the most likely to have severe infections.

How is Salmonella spread?
Salmonella are usually spread to humans by eating food derived from infected animals or contaminated by feces of infected animals or persons.

What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?
Most persons infected with Salmonella infection experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours after infection. Bloodstream infections are less common but can be severe for children and the elderly.

How long does the illness last?
The illness generally lasts 4 to 7 days and most persons recover without treatment. A temporary carrier state, however, can last for a few months, especially in infants.

How can Salmonella infections be treated?
Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days and often do not require treatment unless the person becomes severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines. Persons with severe diarrhea may require rehydration and antibiotics are usually not necessary unless the infection spreads from the intestines.

How is salmonellosis diagnosed?
If a doctor suspects salmonellosis, she or he can request lab tests to look at a patient's stool for the bacteria. Once Salmonella has been identified, additional testing can be completed to determine the specific type and which antibiotics can be used to treat it.

How can I prevent getting salmonellosis?

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat since foods of animal origin may be contaminated with Salmonella.
  • Poultry and meat should be well-cooked, not pink in the middle.
  • Do not consume raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products.
  • Produce should be thoroughly washed before consuming.
  • Avoid cross-contamination of foods.
  • Wash hands after contact with animal feces.
  • Wash hands immediately after handling reptiles.
  • Wash hands often!

Where can I find more information on Salmonellosis?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has additional information on salmonellosis.

Technical Information

Characteristics

  • Etiologic Agent: Enterobacteriaceae of the genus Salmonella, a gram-negative rod-shaped bacilli. Approximately 2000 serotypes cause human disease.
  • Mode of Transmission: Through contaminated food, water, or contact with infected animals or person-to-person fecal-oral transmission. 
  • Period of Communicability: Throughout the course of infection, usually several days to several weeks. A temporary carrier state can last for several months.
  • Incubation Period: From 6 to 72 hours, usually about 12-36 hours.
  • Clinical Features: An illness of variable severity commonly manifested by diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain, nausea and sometimes vomiting. Asymptomatic infections may occur and the organism may cause extraintestinal infections. 
  • Risk Groups: All age groups. Groups at greatest risk for severe or complicated infections include infants, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems.
  • Occurrence: Worldwide.

Arizona Administrative Code: R9-6-310

  1. Case control measures
    1. A local health agency shall exclude a salmonellosis case with diarrhea from working as a food handler, caring for children in or attending a child care establishment, or caring for patients or residents in a health care institution until either of the following occurs:
      1. Two successive cultures negative for Salmonella spp. are obtained from stool specimens collected at least 24 hours apart, or
      2. Diarrhea has resolved.
    2. A local health agency shall conduct an epidemiologic investigation of each reported salmonellosis case or suspect case. For each salmonellosis case, a local health agency shall complete and submit to the Department within 10 working days after completing a salmonellosis investigation formPDF.
  2. Contact control measures
    1. A local health agency shall exclude a salmonellosis contact with diarrhea from working as a food handler until either of the following occurs:
      1. Two successive cultures negative for Salmonella spp. are
        obtained from stool specimens collected at least 24 hours
        apart, or
      2. Diarrhea has resolved.

Lab Tests

Lab Criteria for Diagnosis

  • Isolation of Salmonella species from a clinical specimen

Lab Tests