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What is Salmonella?

Topics Covered:

Issues related to health.

What is Salmonella?


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: What is it? Why is it a concern?


Context: MDH masalas in US have tested positive for Salmonella.


What is Salmonella?

A group of bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses known as salmonellosis.


How widely is it spread?

  • According to estimates by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Salmonella causes 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalisations and about 450 deaths in the United States every year.
  • In a majority of these cases — roughly 1 million — food is the source of the illness.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies Salmonella as one of four key global causes of diarrhoeal diseases.



  • Nausea, diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after contracting the infection.
  • Usually, the illness lasts for 4-7 days, and most people recover without treatment.


Who is more vulnerable?

  • According to the CDC, children under the age of 5 are at highest risk for Salmonella infection.
  • Older adults and people with weakened immune systems too, are likely to have severe infections.



  • Salmonella bacteria are widely distributed in domestic and wild animals. They are prevalent in food animals such as poultry, pigs, and cattle, as well as in pets, including cats, dogs, birds, and turtles.
  • Salmonella can pass through the entire food chain from animal feed, primary production, and all the way to households or food-service establishments and institutions.


Sources: Indian Express.