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What is Salmonella?

Among bacteria, Salmonella bacteria are the number-one culprit in foodborne illness. Here are more facts you should know:

  • Salmonella causes about 1.4 million cases of foodborne Illness in the US every year.
  • Salmonella causes more deaths than any other foodborne bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates.
  • About 4 of every 5 Salmonella Enteritidis foodborne illness cases share a common culprit—eggs.
  • One of every 50 consumers could be exposed to a Salmonella-contaminated egg each year, according to CDC analysis.

Salmonella Foodborne Illness Symptoms

Foodborne illness or "food poisoning" from Salmonella bacteria is called Salmonellosis. Salmonellosis symptoms—fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and headache—typically emerge 6-72 hours after eating a contaminated food. As few as 15 bacterial cells can cause illness.

Salmonellosis can last a few days but is often lasts longer. Diarrhea and dehydration can lead to hospitalization. Recovery time depends on the exact strain of Salmonella bacteria and a person’s overall health. Someone who is highly susceptible is more likely to have a severe illness or to die from Salmonella illness.

Reiter’s Syndrome

A few weeks after initial illness, some patients (about 1 in 50) develop reactive arthritis, also called Reiter’s Syndrome. Reiter’s is a form of inflammation that is thought to follow certain bacterial infections. It brings on symptoms such as urinary inflammation, incontinence, conjunctivitis (irritation in the eyes), joint pain, and sometimes skin lesions. This illness may continue for months in some people.

Who is most susceptible to foodborne illness?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calls these at-risk groups "highly susceptible". They are:

Highly susceptible means two things: First, a person who fits one of these categories is more likely to contract a foodborne illness. Secondly, a person who does get sick may become especially ill.

Particularly for these people, choosing Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs can protect yourself and your family from Salmonella. What are your concerns when it comes to diet, nutrition, and food safety? We invite you to explore this website to see what pasteurized eggs can do to help keep you safe and healthy.

How do eggs become contaminated with Salmonella?

Most types of Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of animals and birds and are transmitted to humans by contaminated foods of animal origin. Salmonella enteritidis infects the ovaries of seemingly healthy hens and contaminates the eggs before the shells are formed. Read more about Salmonella & Eggs.