Trying to determine if your food has fallen prey to Salmonella bacteria is like finding a needle in a haystack. It is impossible. New technology has progressed with testing that diagnoses Salmonella poisoning in a matter of 48 hours instead of a week but that is as close as we have come.
With over 2,000 varieties of salmonella bacteria, we are lucky that only a dozen different varieties cause illness in people. The most common form of salmonella is caused by raw or undercooked meat poultry, or egg products. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains and blood in the stool and can last for a period of two hours to two days.
A small percentage of the population contract a strain of Salmonella bacteria called Reiter's Syndrome that can lead to chronic arthritis. Those with Reiter's syndrome complain of joint pains, eye irritation and painful urination. This can last for months or even years with no known cure.
Worse yet, is Typhoid Fever, which can be deadly. This is usually only found in those traveling abroad. There are recommended vaccines for Typhoid Fever. This could be why only three to four hundred U.S. citizens a year are diagnosed with Typhoid Fever. The high fever is a good indicator of this condition plus cough, metal confusion, slow heartbeat and a swelled liver and spleen.
There are two methods in making a Salmonella diagnosis. The most precise method is receiving a stool sample to perform a laboratory salmonella diagnosis. But unless laboratory staffs are told to look specifically for salmonella bacteria, it may be overlooked. Even if found, further tests may need to be performed to determine the specific type of salmonella bacteria. Most physicians use a diagnosis based on the salmonella symptoms, knowing that statistics are on their side that the condition is mild.
Rest and fluids is the overall recommended treatment for salmonella poisoning. Antibiotics are becoming immune to many bacteria so is not usually recommended. To avoid future outbreaks, stay away from unclean food, excretions of the sick, polluted surface water, thawed fowl (bacteria can be found in the melt water) and all types of reptiles.
Protect yourself by heating food for at least ten minutes. Visit only restaurants that have a clean bill of health on regular inspections. Salmonella is strong stuff. You cannot kill it by freezing, it can survive for several weeks in dry weather and several months in polluted water. Salmonella has even been found on dried excrement that is 2.5 years old. Once you've had a case of salmonella bacteria, you won't want it again.