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 faeces (poo).
You can get salmonella from swallowing contaminated food or water or by 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 and from not washing hands after touching animals and birds.
Symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, and a fever. Nausea and vomiting may also occur. Proper hand hygiene is the main way to prevent becoming unwell with salmonella.
If you are concerned about salmonella call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or contact your doctor or practice nurse.
The information on this page focusses on disease prevention and protection only. Please use the ‘Resources’ and ‘Related Websites’ links below for more information.
You can get salmonella from foods contaminated with the bacteria, such as meat, chicken, eggs, milk and fruit and vegetables. People or animals infected with salmonella can pass it on in their faeces (poo) into soil, water and food. The bacteria can also contaminate (make unsafe) surfaces such as toys, bathroom taps or doors and nappy change tables. You get infected by swallowing the bacteria.
To help stop salmonella speeding, 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 6 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 10 days.
If you think you have salmonella, contact your doctor or nurse, who will probably ask you to provide a specimen of faeces (poo) 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.
Last updated 26.11.2020