Campus News

Keep food safe from salmonella

Recent salmonella outbreaks have been linked to ground turkey and papayas, and Elizabeth Andress, a UGA Cooperative Extension food safety specialist, offers some information on the virus.

Salmonella bacteria live in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals, including birds. Humans usually pick up salmonella by eating foods contaminated with animal feces. Infected people who do not wash their hands after using the bathroom also can spread salmonella as they work with food.

Salmonella-contaminated foods usually look and smell normal.

Vomiting, fever and abdominal cramps are normal symptoms of salmonella poisoning, also called salmonellosis. These symptoms will usually occur 12 to 72 hours after exposure and can last from four to seven days without treatment other than fluids to combat dehydration.

Infants, elderly individuals and people with compromised immune systems are more likely to suffer severe infections that can spread from the intestines into the blood stream, which can lead to death.

If you think you’ve gotten sick from eating a contaminated product, contact your doctor.

Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body hydrated. People with severe diarrhea may require rehydration with intravenous fluids.

People who have salmonellosis should not prepare food or pour water for others until they cease having diarrhea.