Salmonella food poisoning, also known as salmonella enterocolitis, is a diarrheal illness caused by the Salmonella bacteria infecting the lining of the small intestine. It is one of the most common intestinal infections in the United States. The illness can occur anywhere in the world, but is mostly found in North America and Europe. The number of salmonella cases reported increases every year.
Salmonella food poisoning is contracted by consuming contaminated food or water. Contaminated poultry and poultry products are the most common food associated with salmonella poisoning. The illness can also be contracted by handling pet lizards, turtles, iguanas, or snakes. If conditions and food preparation equipments are unsanitary, any food can become contaminated with the salmonella bacteria. Several food-borne outbreaks have been traced to raw fruits and vegetables that had been contaminated during slicing.
The symptoms of salmonella food poisoning normally appear 8 to 48 hours after the individual is infected. Typical symptoms include the sudden onset of nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. Some individuals report experiencing headaches, muscle pain, and joint pain as well. In some cases, rose spots, which are tiny pink spots on the skin, can appear. The illness can last for up to two weeks and the affected individual can continue to shed the bacteria in their feces for up to one year after the initial infection.
In most cases, individuals with salmonella food poisoning make a full recovery without complications. Some patients may require medical attention to replace the fluids lost through diarrhea and vomiting. Rarely, the life-threatening illnesses septicemia and meningitis can occur. Another rare complication from a salmonella infection is a disorder called Reiter’s syndrome. Reiter’s syndrome can create any two of the three following symptoms: eye irritation, urinary tract infection, and reactive arthritis. Occurring 1 to 3 weeks after the initial infection, the illness has been known to affect patients for more than a year, and in some cases, the condition is permanent.
Reiter’s syndrome causes inflammation of the joints in the knees, ankles, wrists, and feet. Other joints may be affected as well, but with far less frequency. In some Reiter’s syndrome patients, a condition called enthesopathy may occur, which is an inflammation located where the tendon attaches to the bone. Patient may also develop heel spurs, which are bone growths that can cause chronic foot pain.
Salmonella food poisoning has no known cure, so physicians can only treat the symptoms. The most important treatment is to replace the fluids lost through diarrhea. Individuals who are unable to take fluids orally will be given intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration. Normally, antidiarrheal medication is avoided, as it can prolong the length of the illness. Fever and muscle pain are treated with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. In severe cases, antibiotics may be required. The illness generally runs it course in 5 to 7 days.
Experts estimate that close to 40,000 people in the United States develop salmonella food poisoning every year, with fatalities from the poisoning counting for 31% of all food related deaths. The majority of individuals contracting salmonella food poisoning are under the age of 20. Most cases occur in the months from July to October.
The Information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or legal advice. If you feel that you or someone you know has food poisoning, seek medical attention immediately by visiting your doctor of by dialing 911.
Do I have a Salmonella Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
The Personal Injury Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in food poisoning lawsuits. We are handling individual and group outbreak litigation nationwide and currently accepting new food poisoning cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of food poisoning, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries by filing a food poisoning lawsuit and we can help.