Salmonella infection is caused by bacteria known as Salmonella. Nearly 12 to 72 hours after the infection, you will get diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. These symptoms will stay for around 4 to 7 days. Most people usually get alright without any medical treatment. But in some people the symptoms of infection can be severe leading to hospitalization. And, if proper treatment is not given, it can lead to death. Elderly people, infants and people with compromised immune systems are at risk of developing severe infections. It is these people who can spread Salmonella infection to others.
Sometimes, the infection leaves the intestines and enters into the blood stream from where it carried to other parts of the body. This may lead to chronic infection; where the person does not have any symptoms but is capable of infecting others.
Diagnosis of infection is based on laboratory tests that identify the bacteria in a person’s stools. And once the bacteria are identified, further tests are conducted to determine the type of bacteria so that appropriate antibiotics may be given to the infected person. However, the laboratory will only test the stools for Salmonella bacteria if specifically instructed.
If you have been exposed to Salmonella infection, it is best to request your doctor to do a stool test. As mentioned earlier, the infection may go away on its own after 5 to 7 days without any treatment but if you become highly dehydrated or the infection spreads to other parts of the body, you will require medical intervention.