Salmonella outbreak reaches Washington state; how do we keep you safe?


Salmonella outbreak reaches Washington state; how do we keep you safe and prevent infection?

A nationwide salmonella outbreak has spread to Washington state, with 37 cases appearing in Washington and more than 1,000 confirmed cases across the country, according to a statement from the Whatcom County Health Department.

Cases in Washington and across the United States have been linked to backyard poultry, such as chickens and ducks, with issues spreading to all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, salmonella causes about 420 deaths, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 1.35 million infections in America each year.

So how do you stay safe from an outbreak? Here's what you need to know about salmonella, its symptoms, and how to prevent getting sick.

salmonella symptoms

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of salmonella can include the following:

▪ Fever.

A headache.

stomach cramps

- nausea.


- Diarrhea.

blood in stool

▪ Chills.

Salmonella symptoms usually begin anywhere within six hours to six days after you become infected, and typically last four to seven days, according to the CDC.

How to prevent salmonella?

According to the Washington State Department of Health, people often get salmonella by eating or drinking food or water contaminated by infected animals or people. Foods such as eggs, raw poultry, unpasteurized milk, and cheese products are the most common sources of salmonella. Products, candy, condiments, beverages, and grains have also been linked to salmonella outbreaks.

Contact with infected animals such as turtles, poultry, chicks, cattle, iguanas, and other reptiles can expose people to infection.

The CDC offers some tips for preventing salmonella infection:

Always wash your hands after touching any animal.

▪ Wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or helping someone with diarrhea use the bathroom.

▪ If you have a salmonella infection, do not bring food to others until symptoms are gone.

Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods, leftovers, and prepared foods within two hours of preparing them or within one hour if the temperature outside or in your car is at least 90 degrees.

▪ Do not kiss animals or pets; do not put your hands in your mouth after petting or playing with animals. Do not put objects that have come into contact with an animal in your mouth.

▪ Clean your pet's bed and items regularly.

▪ Do not eat or drink near high-risk animals such as turtles, chickens, or ducks.

▪ Do not let those with weakened immune systems, such as children five years old and under and the elderly, come into contact with endangered animals.

Take care of your pet by taking him to the vet regularly.

The state health department also suggests several ways to prevent salmonella:

▪ Wrap fresh meat and poultry in plastic bags at the grocery store to prevent blood from dripping onto other foods in your shopping cart.

▪ Buy only tested eggs, animal food products, dairy products, and pasteurized dairy products.

Thaw meat and poultry in the refrigerator and reduce time to room temperature.

▪ Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry, and eggs.

Immediately wash counters and cutting boards used to prepare meat or poultry.

How to treat salmonella?

The CDC encourages you to call your doctor if you have the following symptoms of infection:

▪ Fever above 102 degrees and diarrhea.

Prolonged vomiting and inability to retain fluids.

Signs of dehydration include dizziness upon standing, lack of urination, dry throat, and dry mouth.

Blood in the stool or diarrhea that lasts more than three days and has not improved.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, salmonella can be detected through lab tests by your doctor, and most people recover from salmonella without unique treatments. Antibiotics are usually prescribed for seriously ill people, and the CDC recommends that infected people drink extra fluids as symptoms persist.

In severe cases, patients are hospitalized because of severe symptoms or if the infection spreads to the bloodstream and throughout the body, according to the CDC.

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