Bookmark this page

View Printer Friendly PDF Printer Friendly PDF

Facts About...


What is it?

Salmonellosis is a gastrointestinal illness caused by a group of bacteria called Salmonella. It is a common cause of food borne illness. Almost half of children under 5 years of age that get Salmonella will have it in their stool for up to 12 weeks.

Salmonellosis is a reportable disease and must be reported to the Health Department.

How is it spread?

Salmonella bacteria are found in poultry, livestock, reptiles and household pets. There are many ways you can get sick, often by eating foods such as poultry, beef, eggs and milk products. Drinking water, or eating foods such as raw fruit and vegetables, peanut butter, and dry snack foods that have the bacteria can also cause it. Fruits and vegetables can pick up the bacteria from surfaces they touch or from where they grow. You can pass it on to other people especially to the very young and older people.

What do I look for?

You may start to feel sick within 6 hours, but usually about 12-36 hour after eating foods that have the bacteria in it. Sudden diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, nausea, vomiting and dehydration are common symptoms.

How is it treated?

There is no specific treatment for salmonellosis. If you are vomiting and have diarrhea, you should drink a lot of fluids. Fluids with water, sugar and salts (such as sport drinks) can help prevent dehydration. Health care providers may prescribe antibiotics to infants, older people and people with weak immune systems.

How can I protect myself?

  • Cook all your foods (that comes from animals) to 74°C (165°F) or higher, especially poultry, meat dishes and egg products. When you place them in your fridge, make sure it stays below 4°C (40°F). Hot foods should be kept at 60°C (140°F) or higher.
  • Avoid eating raw eggs (e.g., eggnog, homemade ice cream, Caesar salad dressing and egg whites). Do not use dirty or cracked eggs. Always cook your eggs until they are firm.
  • Clean and sanitize all your surfaces and utensils after it touches raw food to stop the bacteria from getting to other food items (cross-contamination).
  • Drink and eat only pasteurized milk and dairy products.
  • Wash your hands well, with warm running water and soap, rubbing together for at least 15 seconds, after using the washroom, changing diapers, before eating and preparing foods.
  • If you have the illness, do not make food for other people or care for children or hospitalized people until 24 hours after you feel better.
  • Always drink water from a safe supply. If you have a private well, test the water for bacteria at least 4 times per year. Treatment of drinking water will control the spread of bacteria. The Health Department will give you sample bottles and can help you understand the results.

More information can be obtained from

Durham Region Health Department, 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613

October 4, 2017