Salmonella infections

Salmonella spp. that cause gastroenteritis are transmitted by the faecal-oral route most commonly via food such as eggs, meats and dairy products. The most likely reservoirs of endoscopy related health care associated infections with this organism are other patients. It is also possible for infected food handlers, who fail to or inadequately wash their hands with soap after using the bathroom, to contaminate food. POPULATION MOST AT RISK Children under the age of five accounted for more than 44 percent of the reported salmonella cases, making them the most affected segment of the population.

In terms of race and ethnicity, Hispanics had the highest number of cases at 36 percent, followed by whites, 28 percent; blacks, 19 percent; unknown 9 percent; and Asians and others, 8 percent. Although Asians and other ethnic groups constituted a minority of just 8 percent of the cases, they had significantly higher rates of infection than all other individual groups because their population at risk was very small, less than 4 percent of the general Houston population. DIAGNOSTIC TESTS PERFORMED Some individuals, particularly the young, the old, and the immunocompromised (having weakened immune systems), are more prone to severe disease.

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If you are part of the at-risk population, your doctor will likely ask for a stool sample to test for the presence of Salmonella and any other microbes that cause similar symptoms. Salmonella usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment. However, in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is needed. Salmonella infections often do not require treatment unless the patient becomes severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines. People with severe diarrhea may require rehydration, often with intravenous fluids.

Antibiotics are not usually necessary unless the infection spreads from the intestines. RECOMMENDED TREATMENT Salmonella usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment. However, in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is needed. Salmonella infections often do not require treatment unless the patient becomes severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines. People with severe diarrhea may require rehydration, often with intravenous fluids. Antibiotics are not usually necessary unless the infection spreads from the intestines.

If the diarrhea becomes severe, the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, then to other body sites. It can cause death if it is not promptly treated with antibiotics. Infected individuals should drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. For patients at higher risk of severe infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS Salmonella is a bacterial infection causing fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps with nausea and vomiting. A small number of persons who are infected with salmonella will go on to develop pains in their joints, irritation of the eyes and painful urination.

This is called Reiter’s syndrome. PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN WHEN DEALING WITH PATIENTS There are some common precautions that needs to be taken when dealing with patients who has the disease caused by Salmonella. Since the most common mode of transmission of Salmonella is the ingestion of contaminated food or drink, we should not use or share the same container of foods and drinks of the infected person and always wash our hands thoroughly when we had a direct contact with the carrier (especially if the carrier is an infant and you were the one who washed her after removing bowel).

REFERENCES: 1. http://infectiousdiseases. about. com/od/g/a/Salmonella. htm 2. http://www. health. qld. gov. au/EndoscopeReprocessing/module_1/1_3d. asp 3. http://www. houstontx. gov/health/Epidemiology/salmonel. htm 4. http://www. ceufast. com/courses/viewcourse. asp? id=166

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