Salmonella infection is a type of food poisoning that can cause diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

Salmonella is caused by bacteria which live in the intestines of people, birds, and animals. When a person, bird, or animal is infected they pass the bacteria out in their poo (faeces).

If you are concerned about salmonella call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or contact your doctor or practice nurse.

You can get salmonella from:

  • swallowing contaminated food or water
  • touching contaminated objects (i.e. toys)

Food and objects become contaminated when someone does not wash their hands after changing the nappy of an infected child or by not washing their own hands after using the toilet.


You can also get salmonella poisoning from:

  • eating under-cooked meat and chicken
  • handling raw meat and chicken contaminated with salmonella,
  • eating raw or poorly cooked eggs
  • drinking unpasteurised (raw) milk
  • drinking water from rivers, streams, and shallow waters
  • from not washing hands after touching animals and birds

To help stop salmonella spreading, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or a hand-sanitising gel.

Symptoms of salmonella can include diarrhoea, stomach pain or cramps, and feeling or being sick.

Symptoms usually appear six to 72 hours after becoming infected. The symptoms usually last between one to seven days, but in more severe cases they can last up to ten days.

If you think you have salmonella, contact your doctor or nurse, who will probably ask you to provide a specimen of poo (faeces) for testing.

Stay away from school, early childhood centres or work until two days after the symptoms have gone, and do not have visitors from outside the family.

Salmonella is a notifiable disease. This means that health professionals or laboratories will inform us when someone has it. This allows us to monitor the number of people who have the disease and give health professionals advice on how to reduce its spread.



There are specific requirements for notifiable diseases in the Auckland region.

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Last updated 22.11.2022

For health advice call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116
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