An outbreak of an unusual strain of Salmonella, which may have been caused by bad sushi, has sickened 90 people in 19 states. Which doesn’t seem like a lot–except that that’s just the number of confirmed cases so far. Most people who suffer from Salmonella symptoms don’t think it’s that serious, don’t see a doctor, and thus, aren’t reported to the Centers for Disease Control as part of the outbreak. Don’t be a food safety slacker; if you know the signs of Salmonella poisoning, and help put an end to the outbreak.
To stop the spread of disease, the CDC relies information gathered by physicians and citizens, who help the government body track when and where tainted food may have been sold. Without this data, there’s no way to know what’s making people sick, or where it’s coming from–and with diseases like Salmonella and e.Coli, that lack of knowledge can leave thousands sick or even dead. So it’s important to know when you’ve just got a stomach bug, and when you’re carrying valuable (albeit painful and barfy) information.
Here’s what you need to know: Salmonella can be transmitted through improperly prepared or packaged food, or through contact with fecal matter (in the case of raw meat, it’s because the feces may come in contact with the food during the butchering process). Symptoms include a fever or chills, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, a headache, and muscle pains. You can see why it goes unreported.
Additionally, Salmonella’s incubation period varies from a few hours to two days, which can make it hard to isolate. Even still, if you begin to experience the following symptoms, trying to think back on what you’ve eaten in the last 48 hours can help figure out what may have been the carrier. Additionally, Salmonella presents very similarly to a lot of other stomach ailments, like the stomach flu or other diseases. However, the duration of Salmonella is what sets it apart–it can last for as long as seven days, which is much longer than most 48-hour bugs.
The CDC hasn’t yet released which states have been hit, or even a potential cause for the outbreak–but the most recently-reported case was just this week. Which means it can still be sickening people across the country. If you think you may have Salmonella, get to a doctor. It will clear up without medical attention, but if you’re part of the outbreak, there may still be tainted food in your house or at your office. And really, don’t you want to help stop the spread of disease? Of course you do.
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