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Salmonellosis (salmonella)


Salmonellosis is the set of infectious diseases caused by bacteria of the Salmonella genus. Salmonella are bacteria that accumulate in the digestive system and can lead to widespread sepsis or infections. The bacteria are mostly transmitted to humans through contaminated shellfish, or through contact with feces or contaminated clothing. There are different types of Salmonella, including Salmonella typhi, responsible for typhoid fever, Salmonella enterica, very common in food poisoning and Salmonella paratyphi, involved in both kinds of attacks. In general, the infection manifests itself as an important and evolving febrile gastroenteritis over a couple weeks, before the symptoms gradually decrease.


The most common symptoms of salmonellosis, after a period of one to two weeks without symptoms where the bacteria grows during its passage through the intestine, are as follows:
  • for about a week, a so-called invasion phase with:
  • a steady rise of fever, up to 40° C,
  • headaches,
  • digestive disorders, including nausea,
  • fatigue, with a loss of appetite and weight loss that follows,
  • Sometimes, an increase in the volume of the spleen;
  • Then, during a second week:
  • fever maintained at about 40° C,
  • digestive problems with diarrhea and abdominal pain,
  • reversal of the rhythm of sleep,
  • Sometimes, an increase of the spleen.


To make the diagnosis, a recent trip to the tropics or North Africa may be evocative. A study with blood markers almost always shows an increase in C-reactive protein (CRP). A blood culture allows for the finding of the causative organism.


Treatment of salmonellosis involves antibiotics. Meanwhile, the patient should be isolated to prevent transmission, and relatives should be screened and treated if necessary. Monitoring of blood cultures is necessary at the end of the treatment to ensure recovery. In addition, the notification of the disease to a regional health agency is mandatory.


To avoid being infected by salmonella, untreated water and questionable foods should not be consumed, especially in areas that are "at risk". In addition, there is a preventive vaccine, which protects against some of these germs for a period of three years. It is recommended in view of travel to some areas of the world.

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