Salmonellosis is the name of the infection caused by Salmonella bacteria. In fact, most people have heard of the word Salmonella and have a general idea that it is food contamination. The germs or group of bacteria were so named because of the scientist, Salmon, who discovered them. While there is always the potential for the presence of Salmonella in food preparation, proper methods of washing utensils, handling the food itself, and strict personal hygiene are the key to preventing bacterial contamination.
Cases of Salmonellosis are characterized by diarrhea, fever, or abdominal cramps, and usually last four to seven days. Other symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting and dehydration. Since many other conditions and diseases cause the same symptoms, it is necessary to test the stool of the infected person to determine evidence of the Salmonella bacteria. Specifically, the bacteria are passed from humans and animals to other humans and animals through feces.
As we have seen in recent years, many crops such as lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and okra that lie close to the ground have been recalled due to Salmonella poisoning. The produce was infected by nearby water that had come in contact with animal feces. For example, Salmonellosis research has shown that food farms next to animal farms are not necessarily compatible. In addition, it is possible to contaminate food in processing plants where poor sanitation techniques are used, or where one bad element contaminates everything.
Salmonellosis research is a four-fold process. First, research is conducted in order to understand the frequency of Salmonella poisoning in particular food groups. In addition to vegetables, it can be found in raw meat, eggs and milk. Again, these are animal foods and the incidence is higher. It is particularly noteworthy that while at one time, it seemed rather gauche to order rare roast beef or steak in a restaurant, it is now considered ill-conceived. Cooking kills the germs and thus, it is much safer to order meats that have been more fully cooked. It is even now recommended that people not stuff turkeys and chickens. Dressings which are cooked on the side, rather than stuffings actually cooked inside the bird in the oven, reduce the cases of Salmonellosis.
The second point of Salmonellosis research is to understand the condition itself and why it is dangerous for some individuals and why others fare more positively. Many people who suffer from Salmonella poisoning may not even realize they have it. In fact, most never even see their doctors, thinking they just met up with the flu or some kind of bug. Since Salmonellosis comes in different strains, it is possible that some individuals only suffer in a minor way. Others, however, have actually died or developed chronic conditions as a result of the Salmonella. And young children may have a difficult time with Salmonellosis due to the fact that they become dehydrated very quickly.
Another point of Salmonellosis research is obviously to determine from where the Salmonella came. This is an immediate type of research as, once more than one member of a community contracts the condition, it becomes a public issue. Health boards and disease control centers generally start to document everything the subjects ate, where they obtained the food, and anything that was common to the inflicted group.
Lastly, Salmonellosis research is done to prevent large scale contamination and to determine whether newer strains of medications are required. For high risk groups such as very young children, the elderly, and those with low immune systems, treatment of antibiotics may be required. Although no vaccine is available, research is continually advancing to understand all aspects of Salmonellosis and Salmonella bacteria.
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