The Lamen

Yes, some people can die from Salmonella infections

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While the infection often clears up on its own, some people can die from salmonella due to severe symptoms, with the CDC reporting over 400 annual deaths from salmonella.

Photo: Unsplash

Published on Nov 26, 2023

Salmonella is the most frequently reported cause of foodborne illnesses, causing an estimated 1.35 million cases in the U.S. alone. The bacteria can cause food poisoning that can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, stomach pain or cramps, and fever — which may take up to a few days to appear.

People commonly get infected by salmonella through contaminated food, which includes raw or undercooked meat, poultry, and dairy, as well as fruits and vegetables like diced onions and cantaloupes.

While the infection is usually mild and lasts for 4 to 7 days, some people can experience more serious symptoms — with an estimated 26,000 hospitalizations and over 400 people deaths from salmonella every year, according to the CDC.

People at risk of a serious infection include:

  • children under 5
  • adults 65 and older
  • people with compromised immune systems (due to HIV/AIDS, cancer treatment, or chronic health conditions like diabetes)
  • people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • someone who recently took antibiotics

Preventing salmonella can be tough since its carriers look and smell normal.

  • Always wash your hands after coming in contact with animals.
  • Besides meat and poultry, the infection can also spread through “processed foods, such as nut butters, frozen pot pies, chicken nuggets, and stuffed chicken entrees,” the CDC notes.
  • Ensure that your food is cooked to a high enough temperature before eating, and refrigerate food as quickly as you can as warmth promotes ideal breeding grounds for bacteria.
  • After cooking your meat, wash your hands, disinfect surfaces that could have been contaminated, and don’t use cutting boards or plates that touch raw items without washing.

The infection typically clears up on its own, although the CDC recommends contacting a medical professional if:

  • you have a fever above 102 degrees
  • your diarrhea lasts for more than three days or becomes bloody
  • you experience prolonged vomiting
  • you’re experiencing dehydration

The CDC asks people to avoid eating raw cookie dough and uncooked meats and stop kissing animals all the time.