Salmonella is a type of bacteria that makes people sick with diarrhea, fever, and abdominal (stomach) cramps. It’s spread through contaminated food and water, or by contact with animals like dogs, cats, and chickens.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection usually start 12 to 72 hours after being infected. Symptoms of Salmonella include:
If you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days, have a high fever, blood in your stool (poop), or you’re vomiting so much that you can’t keep liquids down, you should go in to see your healthcare provider right away. Antibiotics are only given to people with severe symptoms; most people get better on their own in 4 to 7 days.
There are many bacteria and viruses that can cause similar symptoms and illness, like E.coli, Campylobacter, and Norovirus. If you have been having symptoms for more than 48 to 72 hours you should see a doctor and submit a stool sample for testing.
We investigate cases of illness that are linked to eating in restaurants or other food establishments in Whatcom County. If you have symptoms of foodborne illness after eating out, call 360-778-6000 or email us to let us know.
Salmonella infection starts when you accidentally eat or drink invisible amounts of human or animal feces (poop). This can happen when you eat contaminated foods, drink raw (unpasteurized) milk, drink untreated water (like from a contaminated well), or have contact with an infected person or animal (like at a petting zoo or even from chickens in your own backyard).
Salmonella infection can be prevented if you follow these healthy practices:
If you work in food handling, healthcare, or child care and you have nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea:
Do not return to work until at least 24 hours after your symptoms have gone away to prevent spreading your infection to others. Illnesses with vomiting and diarrhea can spread easily from one person to another, through food contaminated by an ill person, or from shared surfaces such as bathrooms and work spaces.