Salmonellosis – Venezuela

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About 500 people have fallen ill in a Salmonella outbreak mostly from the El Carmen and San Cristóbal area of the Simón Bolívar municipality in Venezuela.

480 people have tested positive for Salmonella so far. Investigation has pointed to contaminated water as the source of infection but the involvement of a type of Brazilian sausage behind some cases in the outbreak has yet to be ruled out. The public is urged to buy food and water from hygienic places that comply with the necessary permits.

People are also advised to follow good hygiene standards at home such as boiling water and washing and cooking food sufficiently before consuming it.

Because of the increase in infections, authorities are disinfecting trucks with water and inspecting businesses that sell drinking water as well as food outlets. A group of six inspectors are making daily visits to such businesses.

Some of those affected have reported water does not reach them regularly and when it does arrive, it is cloudy and has an odor.

Photo: Salmonella (red) invading human cells.

Infection with salmonella in developed countries generally results in food poisoning. The organisms enter through the digestive tract and must be ingested in large numbers to cause disease in healthy adults. Between 60% to 80% of salmonella infections cases go un-diagnosed.

Risk factors for salmonella infections include a variety of foods. Meats such as chicken and pork have the possibility to be contaminated. A variety of vegetables and sprouts may also have salmonella. Lastly, a variety of processed foods such as chicken nuggets and pot pies may also contain this bacteria.

Salmonella was first visualized in 1880. The name Salmonella was not used until 1900.

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