Salmonella Symptoms

Symptoms of Childhood Illnesses

Thawing poultry in refrigerator
Salmonella in Chicken. James Baigrie / Getty Images

Salmonella Outbreaks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been many large outbreaks of Salmonella infections in the United States in the last few years, including:

  • an ongoing outbreak with at least 11 people in 9 states who have gotten sick with Salmonella that has been linked to recalled pistachios from Wonderful Pistachios of Lost Hills, California
  • an ongoing outbreak with at least 13 people in 4 states who have gotten sick with Salmonella that are likely linked to alfalfa sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms of Inman, Kansas
  • at least 33 people in 23 states who have gotten sick with Salmonella that are likely linked to RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products made by Garden of Life, LLC
  • at least 13 people in 13 states who got sick with Salmonella after eating contaminated nut butter spreads from JEM Raw Chocolate, LLC. (2015)
  • at least 907 people have gotten sick with Salmonella Poona in a multistate outbreak that is thought to be linked to imported cucumbers. At least 6 people have died and 131 have been hospitalized. (2015)
  • pork products from Kapowsin Meats are thought to have caused at least 192 people to have gotten sick in 5 states, including at least 30 who required hospitalization. (2015)
  • at least 115 people in 12 states have become infected with Salmonella that have been linked to mung bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. (2014)
  • at least 6 people in 5 states who have become infected with Salmonella that has been linked to recalled almond and peanut butter manufactured by nSpired Natural Foods, Inc., including their Arrowhead Mills, MaraNatha, Kroger, Safeway, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods 365 brands. (2014)
  • at least 31 people in 16 states have become infected with three outbreak strains of Salmonella after eating products made with recalled contaminated organic sprouted Chia powder made by Navitas Naturals and Health Matters America. (2014)
  • at least 41 people in 21 states who have become infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium after having contact with frozen feeder rodents packaged by Reptile Industries, Inc. in an  outbreak that now appears to be over. (2014)
  • at least 363 people in 43 states who have become infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Infantis and Salmonella Newport after  contact with chicks, ducklings, and other live baby poultry from Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio. (2014)
  • at least 166 people in 36 states who have become infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Cotham pet bearded dragons. (2014)
  • at least 634 people in 29 states who have become infected with multi-drug resistant outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg that began in 2003. The outbreak is linked to recalled Foster Farms brand chicken. (2013)
  • a multistate outbreak that has gotten at least 100 people sick since January in 19 states and which may be linked to eating sushi, sashimi, or similar foods (2012)
  • a multistate outbreak that has gotten at least 92 people sick since February and which has been linked to chicks and ducklings (2011)
  • 111 cases of Salmonella in 26 states that is likely linked to frozen or fresh ground turkey products (2011)
  • 99 cases of Salmonella in 23 states that may be linked to papayas imported from Mexico (2011)
  • a large outbreak linked to an egg recall that caused at least 1,939 people to get sick (2010)
  • 714 people from 49 states in an ongoing Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter, peanut paste, and Austin and Keebler brand peanut butter crackers (2009)

Although foods that are found to be contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria are often recalled and pulled from grocery stores, by that time many people have already eaten them.

That makes it important to learn to recognize the symptoms of Salmonella infections, especially since your child may become sick before any link to a contaminated food is even found.

Recognizing Salmonella symptoms is also important so that you don't overreact every time your child has diarrhea and you worry that it might be Salmonella when it is more likely to be a simple viral infection.

Salmonella Symptoms

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, which is called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after you are exposed and can include:

  • watery diarrhea (sometimes bloody diarrhea with mucus)
  • fever
  • cramping abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • chills
  • headache

These symptoms usually last about four to seven days and often go away without treatment.

Some children, especially younger infants and toddlers, or those with a compromised immune system, may develop more severe, life-threatening symptoms though and may need to be hospitalized.

Diagnosis of Salmonella Infections

Children who have Salmonella symptoms and have been exposed to a source of Salmonella bacteria, either from contaminated food, pet turtles, and other reptiles, or farm animals should see their pediatrician.

Testing will likely include a stool culture, in which the Salmonella bacteria may be found.

Sources:

CDC. Salmonella Outbreak Investigations.

Long: Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 2nd ed.

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