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You might have experienced symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, but have you ever wondered which organism is causing your symptoms? Well, you will find all your answers in this article.

Food poisoning occurs through the consumption of food or water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, toxins, or any other chemical agents. This contamination is usually caused by unsanitary cooking or handling conditions. In some cases, food poisoning presents no symptoms. However, such an infection often causes severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, and muscle weakness.

Salmonella or Salmonellosis - Difference

Before we go into the details, it is necessary for you to know that what is the difference between Salmonella and Salmonellosis. It is simple;

Salmonella is a microbe that causes food poisoning whereas Salmonellosis is the term used for infection caused by Salmonella.

Salmonella and Food poisoning

Several organisms are known to cause food poisoning but the most common cause of food poisoning is the bacterium Salmonella.which cause Salmonellosis.

Sources and Transmission of Salmonella

This microbe is found in raw beef, poultry, and occasionally even in unwashed vegetables and fruits. Salmonella can also gain entry into your system through the use of contaminated utensils and poor sanitary habits of your food handler. Furthermore, Salmonella may also be present in the feces of certain pets, especially if they have diarrhea. These particularly include reptiles, ducklings, and small rodents.

Symptoms of Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis causes the usual symptoms associated with food poisoning. They usually develop about 72 hours after the infection. The illness may last up to a week. People who experience only diarrhea recover rather quickly, although it may take several months for the bowel to function normally.  

Some people with Salmonellosis may develop a condition known as Reiter’s syndrome. This disease can persist for months and even years, and can cause chronic arthritis as well.

Differentiating between symptoms of Salmonellosis and other microorganisms can be tricky. However, there are some facts that may help to find out if this is really Salmonellosis.

 The most common facts include:

  • Children, young adults, and immunocompromised people (population with impaired immunity) are prone to develop the infection.
  • The major complaint of the patient is diarrhea, several times a day.
  • Symptoms are less likely to develop suddenly. It usually takes time.
  • Raised body temperature is seen in most cases but diarrhea comes before fever.
  • Salmonella is more likely to occur in the patients who live in groups or untidy crowded places. For example hostels, homeless people, disastrous areas, etc.
  • Patients who own a pet are also prone to get infected by Salmonella.

On the other hand, it is less likely to be Salmonellosis if:

  • Patient is of adult age group
  • He is financially strong
  • He is not suffering from any chronic disorder
  • He has got all the vaccinations in time
  • He has not traveled recently

A point to remember: You cannot draw a line between the symptoms of a Salmonella infection and a non-Salmonella infection. The investigation that confirms the diagnosis is the stool test. It is not usually required in majority of the cases because treatment is mostly symptomatic in all the cases.

Despite being the most common cause, Salmonella may not be the only microbe to blame for all food poisoning infections. There are many other species of bacteria that cause similar distressful symptoms as well.

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