Salmonella poisoning


When salmonella poisoning (Salmonellosis) is an infection with salmonella. These bacteria can trigger various diseases, including typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever and enteritis. A typhoid disease is always treated with antibiotics, enteritis usually only in severe cases. Read more about salmonella poisoning here!

ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in medical reports or on incapacity certificates. A02ArtikelübersichtSalmonellenvergiftung

  • description
  • symptoms
  • Causes and risk factors
  • Examinations and diagnosis
  • treatment
  • Disease course and prognosis

Salmonella poisoning: description

Salmonella poisoning (salmonellosis) is generally an infection with salmonella, ie certain bacteria. It can vary, depending on the type of salmonella and the condition of the person affected. On the one hand, Salmonella poisoning can manifest as an intestinal inflammation and on the other hand systemically (ie in the whole body) (typhoid illness).

What are Salmonella?

Salmonella are motile, rod-shaped bacteria that can invade cells. There are two types: Salmonella enterica and S. bongori. The first species, Salmonella enterica, is divided into six subspecies and more than 2,000 so-called serovars, some of which cause different diseases. Some of these serovars have proper names like:

  • Salmonella typhi: typhoid fever
  • Salmonella parathyphi (A, B, C): Paratyphus pathogen
  • Salmonella enteritidis (and Salmonella typhimurium): Enteritisers

The pathogens of typhus and paratyphoid cause disease only in humans. They penetrate from the intestine into the blood, spread over the bloodstream throughout the body (systemic infection) and can cause dangerous blood poisoning (sepsis).

The enteritis pathogens occur both in humans and animals and usually do not leave the intestine. They trigger vomiting diarrhea.

Salmonella can survive for several months (even in the freezer) and adapt to their environment very well. This is especially important for salmonella enteritis: Salmonella enteritidis is common in poultry. Thawed poultry as well as thawing water can contain a large number of salmonella and can easily lead to salmonella poisoning.

Salmonella poisoning: frequency

Salmonella poisoning, which was already known in antiquity, gained importance in the 19th and 20th centuries. By improving the water supply, sanitation and hygiene as well as the introduction of antibiotics such infections could be contained.

The Salmonella enteritis is the second most notifiable food-borne bowel disease in Germany after Campylobacter infection. This form of Salmonella poisoning occurs especially in infants and in summer. In Germany, approximately 65 out of 100,000 people develop Salmonella enteritis every year. Worldwide, around 94 million people are affected each year, of which 150,000 die.

At typhus An estimated 22 million people worldwide die each year, 200,000 of them die. The greatest risk is the disease in India and Pakistan. Most cases occurring in Europe occur after travel to (sub) tropical areas. In Germany less than 100 cases of typhus are recorded each year. paratyphoid, a typhoid-like disease, occurs similarly rare in Germany and occurs mostly as a result of trips to India and Turkey.

Salmonellosis is notifiable

Any suspicion of Salmonella enteritis, typhus or paratyphoid must be reported to the health department (mandatory), because Salmonella are contagious. Also notifiable are the detected disease and death by salmonella poisoning.

Anyone working in schools, kindergartens or similar community facilities or in food businesses may in certain cases no longer work in cases of suspected salmonella poisoning. The public health office oversees sick people and will not allow work until three salmonellae can no longer be detected in three stool samples.

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Salmonella poisoning: symptoms

After ingestion of the pathogens it takes either only hours to days (enteritis) or weeks (typhoid fever) until first salmonella symptoms appear. The exact duration of this salmonella incubation period depends on the type and amount of bacteria ingested.

How severe the symptoms are is very variable. Some infected people (especially strong-defense people) even show no salmonella symptoms ("silent salmonella infection").


The pathogen, Salmonella enteritidis, preferentially settles in the small intestine and secretes toxins (toxins). They trigger the first symptoms five to 72 hours after the Salmonella poisoning: acute vomiting diarrhea with severe abdominal cramps, fever and headache. A dangerous consequence of vomiting diarrhea is dehydration (loss of water), as much fluid and electrolytes are lost. Salmonella symptoms usually improve after a few days. Sometimes the bacteria can also be detected in the blood (bacteremia) and settle in organs, especially in at-risk patients with a weakened immune system.