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Symptoms of Salmonella Infection
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The symptoms of Salmonella infections depend on the overall health of the infected person (for example, normal or with a suppressed immune system) and the particular serovar infecting the patient. Symptoms usually begin about 12-72 hours after ingestion of the bacteria. In general, people contract S. spp (for example, serovars S. enteritidis, S. cholerasuis) that usually cause a self-limiting diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting termed salmonellosis or S. gastroenteritis. Fever may be present but usually lasts only one to three days, with all the symptoms resolving in about three to seven days. This gastroenteritis is not always traced to the bacterial source and is sometimes simply termed "food poisoning," a term used to describe similar symptoms caused by several different bacterial, parasitic, and viral organisms (for example, E. coli Giardia, and rotavirus). Those with a suppressed immune system, the elderly, and neonates may develop more severe symptoms (for example, bacteremia or sepsis).
Fever and the above-mentioned symptoms lasting over seven to 10 days suggest infection with the more virulent serovars, S. typhi or S. paratyphi. S. typhi causes typhoid fever, which includes symptoms of a high fever (104 F), abdominal pains, sweating, and confusion; some of those affected may develop swollen lymph nodes. About 50% of patients develop a slow heartbeat (bradycardia), and about 30% get slightly raised red or rose-colored spots (rose spots) on the chest and abdomen. S. paratyphi causes paratyphoid fever, a disease similar to but with less severe symptoms than typhoid fever. Some untreated patients who become infected with S. typhi or S. paratyphi and are otherwise healthy will resolve the infection in about one month, but others can suffer complications (for example, becoming a carrier of the organism, developing organ infections, sepsis, and potentially death).
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