What is Salmonella food poisoning?

Patricia Raymond, MD
Salmonella is a bacterial pathogen that causes moderate illness with nausea, vomiting, crampy diarrhea, and headache, which may come back a few weeks later as joint pain. It is transmitted by undercooked foods such as eggs, poultry, dairy products, and seafood.
Roshini C. Rajapaksa, MD

Salmonella is a bacteria often contracted through contaminated or raw food; with salmonella poisoning, you can develop severe vomiting, diarrhea and a fever. Watch gastroenterologist Roshini Raj, MD, discuss this illness and what you need to know.

Leigh Vinocur, MD
Emergency Medicine
Salmonella is a broad category for many different types of bacteria each distinctive to the specific species that carries it. Salmonella bacteria are found in turtles and other reptiles, chickens and other foul, as well as cats and dogs. Salmonella Typhi is the type that usually causes food poisoning in humans and accounts for about 10-15% of food-borne illnesses.
Salmonella gastroenteritis is “simple” food poisoning that causes loose, watery, mucous-like diarrhea usually associated with eating contaminated poultry and eggs. You can also get it from eating contaminated meats, peanuts and recently, highly publicized cases of Salmonella poisoning were caused by vegetable like tomatoes and spinach. Contamination results when human or animal feces come in contact with food during irrigation, harvesting or processing. As with the other types of food poisoning, those most susceptible are immune compromised, and very old or very young.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Besides poultry, salmonella bacteria are also found in beef, dairy, and uncooked egg dishes such as Caesar salad dressing and hollandaise sauce. Salmonella is caused by human or animal feces, which can penetrate meat and eggs in several ways: via contact with sewage; by how livestock chickens are raised, crammed into hen houses and living on top of their own feces; and even by invading the hard shell of a chicken egg. Untreated, the salmonella infection eventually bores holes through the intestinal wall. A fever signals the virus has spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract and is invading the bloodstream. Like Escherichia coli (E. coli), salmonella can be especially dangerous for those with compromised immune systems, the young or the very old. If you suspect you or someone you love has salmonella poisoning, don't delay in contacting your physician who will prescribe antibiotic therapy. 

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Randolph P. Martin, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Salmonella food poisoning is caused by ingesting infected poultry or from eating egg products that are undercooked. Watch this video to learn more from Dr. Randy P. Martin about Salmonella food poisoning and preventing Salmonella food poisoning.


Salmonella food poisoning is a bacterial infection of the intestinal tract.Some strains of this common bacterium live naturally in certain animals, but if humans come into contact with it, infection can ensue. Salmonella occurs when you swallow food or water that is contaminated with salmonella bacteria, or if you come into contact with contaminated feces. Salmonella needs to be treated immediately or it can spread to the bloodstream. There are different types of Salmonella bacteria, as well, some of which can cause typhoid.phoid.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.