October 23, 2018

Can Salmonella Put You In The Hospital? Yes!

Salmonella is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. A bout of it can cause days of abdominal cramps, fever and diarrhea, but can it put you in the hospital? Yes.

Salmonella BacteriaIn fact, Salmonella caused the most outbreak-related hospitalizations in a two-year study of foodborne illness outbreaks in the US recently released study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of the 1,184 people hospitalized in foodborne illness outbreaks during 2009 and 2010, almost half of them, 583 cases, were caused by Salmonella. In the ongoing ground beef Salmonella outbreak that has so far sickened 16 people in five states, seven people, again almost half, have been hospitalized.

Every year in the US, about 42,000 cases of infection from Salmonella, called salmonellosis, are diagnosed, according to the CDC. And the agency estimates that for every diagnosed case there at least 29 more that are undiagnosed, putting the number of Americans sickened by Salmonella each year closer 1.26 million.

Some of these people get what they typically describe as a bad stomach bug. They experience fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and sometimes vomiting for a few days. But for others, the symptoms can be so severe such as bloody diarrhea that hospitalization is required. For about 400 people every year, acute salmonellosis will be fatal. Children, seniors, pregnant women and others with compromised immunes systems are most at risk.

For some people, there can be serious and expensive long-term complications from a Salmonella infection. “It may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal. A small number of persons with Salmonella develop pain in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. This is called reactive arthritis. It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis which is difficult to treat,” according to the CDC. Other health issues after this infection can include endocarditis, irritable bowel syndrome, and high blood pressure.

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