What is salmonella? Eggs recalled over its contamination fears. [Representational Image]Creative Commons

More than 200 million eggs were recalled by a company after an outbreak of salmonella was traced to one of its farms in North Carolina, US. The step was taken after 22 reported cases of salmonella infections were reported.

Salmonella infection is a common bacterial disease affecting the intestinal tract; the bacteria live in animal and human intestines, shed through feces. Humans get infected with it only through contaminated water or food.


According to Mayo Clinic, the possible signs and symptoms of salmonella infection include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, blood in the stool and headaches.

In some cases, diarrhea can be so dehydrating that it might require prompt medical attention. Life-threatening complications may also develop only if the infection spreads beyond the intestines.

These signs and symptoms generally last from two to seven days, but diarrhea may last up to 10 days or more.

A few varieties of salmonella bacteria result in typhoid fever, a sometimes deadly disease that is more common in developing countries.


Salmonella infection usually happens due to the consumption of raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, egg products, seafood or fruits, and vegetables (if washed during processing with water contaminated with salmonella).

Contamination can also take place if people don't wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing a diaper. Touching something that is contaminated such as pets, birds or reptiles, and not washing the hand thoroughly before using the hands for eating or cooking.

In some cases, Food and Drug Administration found that some salmonella outbreaks being linked to contamination in spices.

Risk factors

The risk of getting the salmonella infection is more if you own a pet bird or reptile, or if you have stomach or bowel disorders, inflammatory bowel disease and immune problems. A few medications or medical problems like AIDS, malaria, sickle cell disease, anti-rejection drugs taken after organ transplants and corticosteroids might also increase the risk of getting infected with salmonella.


To prevent contamination, one can take precautions like washing hands thoroughly after using the toilet, changing a diaper, handling raw meat or poultry, cleaning up pet feces, touching birds or reptiles. One should also store raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods in the refrigerator. People should avoid eating raw eggs, raw meat or undercooked foods. Also never use an unwashed plate to serve cooked food.