Salmonellosis, or better known as Salmonella
Salmonellosis is an infection of the bacteria Salmonella which is transmitted by rats and mice worldwide by eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated by droppings or feces. Contaminated foods typically look and smell normal but are often of animal origin such as meat, milk, or eggs. All foods, though, can become contaminated with Salmonella. Individuals with Salmonella experience fever, diarrhea, and cramping once infected. Infections usually resolve in five to seven days and require only oral fluids. If the Salmonella infection moves from the intestines to the blood stream, it can be deadly. Treatment usually consists of antibiotic therapy, IV fluids, and oftentimes hospitalization. Salmonellosis is diagnosed through laboratory testing of stool. Interestingly, some people with Salmonellosis develop Reiter’s syndrome which can lead to chronic arthritis.
There are approximately forty thousand cases of Salmonellosis reported each year in the United States resulting in four hundred deaths each year. Most cases, however, go unreported as symptoms do not become severe enough for laboratory testing to confirm Salmonellosis. Rodent droppings cause a large percentage of Salmonellosis. The Food and Drug Administration or FDA inspects milk pasteurization plants, food processing plants, and regulates the use of specific antibiotics as growth enhances in animals intended for slaughter. The United States Environmental Protection agency or EPA monitors the safety of drinking water and the United States Department of Agriculture monitors the health of food animals, egg plants, and processed meats. You can prevent the spread of Salmonella within your home by frequently washing hands and all food preparation surfaces. Even if you don’t have a severe rodent infestation, you are still susceptible to Salmonellosis.