A multi-state outbreak of salmonella infections — attributed to contaminated cucumbers grown in Mexico — has many people concerned. But what is a salmonella infection and how is it transmitted? Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist Dr. Pritish Tosh says, "In the United States, salmonella infections are usually encountered as a result of undercooked eggs or poultry products. Occasionally, outbreaks can be seen when foods have become contaminated either during production, processing or final preparation."
Dr. Tosh recommends people follow the advice of public health officials who will alert the public about products to avoid.
He says, once the source is determined and contaminated food is recalled, food products that are not from that source are usually safe to eat.
Salmonella is a bacterial infection. You can avoid it by fully cooking eggs and poultry products before eating them. Dr. Tosh also recommends people follow good hand hygiene and good food handling practices, especially when raw poultry products are involved.
Most people experience salmonella symptoms 12 to 72 hours after infection. Signs and symptoms of an infection include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Severe cases may result in hospitalization. Treatment for less severe cases may include anti-diarrheals and antibiotics.