Risks of salmonellosis (Salmonella)

Learn what the risks of salmonellosis are and who is most at risk.

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What are the risks of getting salmonellosis?

Your risk of getting salmonellosis is highest if you eat certain raw or undercooked foods contaminated with Salmonella, especially:

  • eggs
  • poultry
  • meat, particularly pork and ground beef

Other foods and beverages that increase your risk include:

  • homemade products containing raw eggs or unpasteurized dairy, such as:
    • tiramisu
    • frostings
    • ice cream
    • mayonnaise
    • cookie dough
    • salad dressings
    • hollandaise sauce
  • unpasteurized dairy products, including:
    • raw milk cheeses
    • raw milk or cream
    • cream-filled desserts and toppings
  • raw fruits and vegetables, and their juices, particularly sprouts (this is rare)

You are at risk of being exposed to Salmonella in your kitchen if you do not:

  • wash your hands properly after:
    • using the bathroom
    • handling raw meat, eggs or poultry
    • touching pets and their food, treats, toys or waste
  • wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them
  • clean work surfaces thoroughly before and after preparing raw meat, poultry and other foods

Who is most at risk?

You are most at risk for salmonellosis if you:

  • are a pregnant woman
  • are 60 years of age or older
  • are a child under 5 years of age
  • have a weakened immune system (cannot easily fight disease)

What are the risks of complications?

In rare cases, there can be risks of severe complications if Salmonella spreads from the intestines to:

  • other organs
  • the blood stream

Some people may experience long-term symptoms, such as reactive arthritis (Reiter’s syndrome). These symptoms usually appear 3 to 4 weeks after you start feeling sick.

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