Salmonellosis is an infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella spp., which usually affects the intestine and rarely the bloodstream.
Salmonella is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria in the family Enterobacteriaceae.
Salmonellosis is one of the most common diarrhoeal diseases. Most cases occur during the summer months and can occur as isolated cases, in groups or epidemics.
Gastroenteritis caused by salmonella causes intestinal symptoms.
As a rule, salmonellosis causes only mild symptoms, but in certain cases it can become serious, especially if children, the elderly or immunocompromised people are affected.
Typing of Salmonella
Currently, the CDC (Center of Disease Control in the USA) recognizes two species, which are divided into seven subspecies (subspecies):
- enterica (six subspecies),
- bongori (a subspecies).
The subspecies are divided into over 50 serogroups based on somatic antigens.
The serogroup is further divided into over 2300 serotypes based on flagellated antigens.
Classification of Salmonella
Most components of these bacteria are identical and at the DNA level they match between 95% and 99%.
(For comparison, E. coli and Salmonella, which are closely related, match about 60-70% at the DNA level.)
The main serotypes are Typhi, Parathyphi, Choleraesuis, Enteritidis and Typhimurium.
|Weaker salmonellosis Asymptomatic infection or enteritis|
Salmonella Typhi (actually: Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica Serovar Typhi)
This bacterium is the etiological causative agent of typhoid fever or typhoid fever and belongs to group D in the typing of Salmonella. Typhoid fever can have fatal consequences.
Symptoms of typhoid fever include nausea, vomiting and fever.
Unlike other salmonella, the bacterium S. thyphi can only infect humans. The main source of infection with S. Typhi is infected water. Food can become contaminated with S. Typhi if washed or irrigated with contaminated water.
Salmonella paratyphi (actually: Salmonella enterica ssp. enterica ser. Paratyphi)
Paratyphoid fever is a disease similar to typhoid fever and is caused by Salmonella paratyphi A and Salmonella paratyphi B.
This bacterium is transmitted by pigs, can survive in wet feces for 3 months and in dry feces for 13 months.
Salmonella choleraesuis quickly penetrates the blood flow, with slight involvement of the intestine.
Most patients with this infection have risk factors, such as:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Use of cortisone
Salmonella Typhimurium (actually: Salmonella enterica ssp. entreica ser. Typhimurium) Until recently,
the most common cause of Salmonella food poisoning was Salmonella Typhimurium.
Salmonella Typhimurium comes from group B and is transmitted by birds (pigeons, ducks, etc.).
As the name suggests, it causes typhoid disease in mice.
In humans, Salmonella Typhimurium is not fatal unless it affects patients with compromised or undeveloped (as in newborns) immune systems.
The disease is characterized by diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea.
Healing usually occurs within 7 days.
Enteritis-Salmonella (e.g. Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica Serovar Enteritidis, short Salmonella Enteritidis)
In the last 20 years, it has become the most common cause of food poisoning in the USA.
Salmonella Enteritidis particularly easily infects chickens without producing the disease in them, and then spreads rapidly from one chicken to another.
This type of salmonella belongs to the D group, among the serotypes Salmonella pullorum is found.
Risk factors for salmonellosis
Factors that can increase the risk of salmonella infection are activities that lead to close contact with bacteria and diseases that weaken resistance to infections in general.
The following are the most important risk factors:
Salmonella infection is most common in developing countries; According to doctors, poor hygienic conditions are to blame, but in reality the diet in poor countries is not very healthy. Fruit is very expensive and therefore almost always cooked and often fried foods are eaten, as well as a lot of rice, beans, pork and eggs.
This type of diet is not nutritious, because cooking destroys nutrients and due to the low consumption of fruits, vegetables and nuts, people are also often deficient in vitamins and mineral salts. The immune system is weak and the intestines have to do excessive work to digest these cooked foods.
Keeping a reptile or bird in the house
Some animals, especially reptiles and birds, may be infected with the Salmonella bacterium.
Living in shared accommodation
People who live in residential homes or nursing homes may have a higher risk of infection because they have contact with more people.
Stomach or intestinal disorders
The body has a strong natural defense against salmonella infections. For example, stomach acid can kill many types of salmonella bacteria.
But certain diseases and medications can block natural defenses, such as:
- Antacids (medicines used to reduce stomach acid). By lowering the acidity in the stomach, salmonella is allowed to survive.
- Inflammatory intestinal diseases. These diseases (for example, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) damage the intestinal wall and make the intestine more susceptible to salmonella bacteria.
- Recent antibiotic treatment. This can reduce the number of “good” bacteria in the gut and decrease the ability to fight salmonella infections.
- Immune problems. The following conditions or medications appear to increase the risk of salmonella by altering the immune system:
- Sickle-cell anaemia
- Drugs against rejection reactions after organ transplantation
How is salmonella transmitted?
Salmonella bacteria can be found in foods such as raw meat, raw eggs and raw poultry, as well as on unwashed fruit.
Food can become contaminated if it comes into contact with surfaces of utensils previously used to process raw meat or other products contaminated with salmonella. This phenomenon is called cross-contamination.
In recent years, various cases of salmonella have been repeatedly reported to the CDC in the U.S. through the consumption of raw alfalfa sprouts grown in contaminated soils.
Salmonella can be ingested via pets, especially reptiles such as snakes, lizards, iguanas and turtles.
Salmonella can become a chronic infection even if no symptoms are noticeable. Even if there are no symptoms, the condition can be spread if hands are not washed before preparing food for others.
To know if infection persists, laboratory tests are helpful to check the presence of salmonella in the blood.
How is the bacterium eliminated?
The Salmonella bacteria survive for months or years in excrement, wastewater, food and feed at room temperature.
They can survive at temperatures around or below zero, but can suffer structural damage.
To ensure that the bacteria are destroyed, food must be heated for 10 minutes at a temperature of 72° or alternatively for 40 minutes at 57°.
What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?
The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are:
- Diarrhea (which may contain blood and mucus)
- Abdominal cramps
Dehydration can occur especially in newborns and the elderly.
After the salmonella bacteria are swallowed, the incubation period is between 6 and 72 hours before the disease breaks out.
To determine the cause of the disease, you need to know where you have been and what has been eaten and drunk in the last three days.
The disease lasts only a few days, but the salmonella bacteria can be present in the stool for several months.
Complications of salmonella infection
There is a risk that the bacterium will enter the blood, which can reach the vital organs and have the following effects:
- meningitis (meningitis) – when it penetrates into the meninges;
- endocarditis (inflammation of the inner lining of the heart) – when it enters the endocardium;
- osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone marrow) – with infiltration into bones and spinal cord;
- Reactive arthritis – causes acute inflammation of the joints, eyes (such as conjunctivitis and uveitis), genital organs (for example, prostatitis) and urinary tract (urethritis).
Diagnosis of salmonella
There are many diseases that can cause diarrhea, fever or abdominal cramps.
Determining whether salmonella is the cause of the disease depends on laboratory tests to identify the salmonella in the stool of an infected person.
Once salmonella has been detected, further tests help to determine the specific type.
How is Salmonella treated? What does the therapy consist of?
Since many diseases can cause similar symptoms, the doctor may request a stool sample for laboratory analysis.
If you suffer from salmonellosis and the infection is not severe (that is, it has not spread through the gastrointestinal tract), the doctor will probably wait for a spontaneous cure without therapy.
The doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics if the infection is severe, if the type of salmonella puts you at high risk, or if you are unable to fight the infection.
Some people with salmonellosis may need hospital treatment due to dehydration (low fluid levels in the body), which is a complication of diarrhea.
In the case of a serious salmonella infection, further investigations must determine the specific type of disease and the antibiotics that can be used to treat it.
Remedies for salmonellosis according to natural medicine principles
According to the natural medicine of Shelton and Lezaeta, the cause of the symptoms is not of a bacterial nature, but due to an improperly functioning intestine, which is full of toxins due to inappropriate diet and lifestyle.
In reality, Salmonella are bacteria controlled by the immune system, which prevents excessive growth; if this does not happen, the body does not function properly.
The solution is a fast lasting about 3 days, so that the digestive system can rest and the body has the necessary energy to eliminate excess toxins, viruses, bacteria and parasites.
Fasting must be followed by a diet based on vegetables and fresh fruits, except those with laxative effects (peaches, honeydew melons, plums, kiwi, mangoes, figs, watermelons) before returning to the normal diet.
How can salmonellosis be prevented?
- You have to be careful with raw poultry, beef and pork:
Fresh meat should be packed in plastic bags when shopping to prevent blood from dripping onto other foods. Place the meat immediately in the freezer and expose it to the room temperature as little as possible.
Do not prepare food on an unwashed plate that previously contained raw chicken or pork, fish or seafood.
Cutting boards used for the preparation of poultry, pork, beef, fish or seafood should be washed immediately after use to avoid cross-contamination with other foods.
The consumption of raw or semi-cooked meat should be avoided. Even though the color of the meat changes from red to gray when it’s completely cooked, that’s not a trustworthy test to know if it’s safe to eat.
- Avoid eating raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs.
Raw eggs may not be detected in some foods such as tiramisu, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, zabaione, pasta and glazes.
- Do not drink unpasteurized milk.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before consumption.
- Wash hands thoroughly before and after food preparation.
- Wash hands immediately (especially children) after touching reptiles, animal feces or pet food.
- In households with immunocompromised individuals or young children, reptiles should not be kept as pets.
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