Salmonella enterocolitis

Definition

Salmonella enterocolitis is a bacterial infection in the lining of the small intestine that is caused by salmonella bacteria. It is a type of food poisoning.

Causes

Salmonella infection is one of the most common types of food poisoning. It occurs when you swallow food or water that contains salmonella bacteria.

The salmonella germs may get into the food you eat in several ways.

You are more likely to get this type of infection if you:

Symptoms

The time between getting infected and having symptoms is 8 to 72 hours. Symptoms include:

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider will perform a physical exam. You may have a tender abdomen and develop tiny pink spots, called rose spots, on your skin.

Tests that may be done include:

Treatment

The goal is to make you feel better and avoid dehydration. Dehydration means your body does not have as much water and fluids as it should.

These things may help you feel better if you have diarrhea:

If your child has salmonella, it is important to keep them from getting dehydrated. At first, try 1 ounce (2 tablespoons or 30 milliliters) of fluid every 30 to 60 minutes.

Medicines that slow diarrhea are often not given because they may make the infection last longer. If you have severe symptoms, your provider may prescribe antibiotics if you:

If you take water pills or diuretics, you may need to stop taking them when you have diarrhea. Ask your provider.

Outlook (Prognosis)

In otherwise healthy people, symptoms should go away in 2 to 5 days, but they may last for 1 to 2 weeks.

People who have been treated for salmonella may continue to shed the bacteria in their stool for months to a year after the infection. Food handlers who carry salmonella in their body can pass the infection to the people who eat the food they have handled.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

If your child has symptoms, call your provider if your child has:

Prevention

Learning how to prevent food poisoning can reduce the risk for this infection. Follow these safety measures:


Review Date: 2/24/2018
Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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