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Salmonella Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s some background information about Salmonella.


Salmonellosis, the infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella, is one of the most frequently reported foodborne illnesses in the United States.

Prono: sal•mo•nel•la. The first “L” is pronounced, unlike the silent “L” in salmon, the fish.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Reports of Selected Salmonella Outbreak Investigations.

General Information:

(Source: CDC)
An estimated 1.35 million Salmonella cases occur annually in the United States.

Approximately 420 people in the United States die each year due to Salmonella.

Salmonella lives in the intestinal tracts of animals, including birds, and people.

People usually become infected by eating foods contaminated with animal feces.

Foods contaminated with Salmonella are often of animal origin, such as beef, poultry, milk or eggs, but any food may become contaminated.

It rarely affects the taste, smell or appearance of food.

The Salmonella family includes more than 2,500 serotypes of bacteria. Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis are the most common in the United States and account for half of all human infections.

S. typhimurium is most commonly found in food of an animal origin.

S. enteritidis is mainly associated with poultry and eggs.

Most recently, a specific type of Salmonella Typhimurium, DT104, has emerged that is resistant to many antibiotics. Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 can be found in a broad range of foods.

Salmonella was discovered by American veterinarian Daniel Elmer Salmon.

Symptoms and Treatment

Typical symptoms include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually begin six hours to four days after infection.

Infections usually resolve in three to seven days, and mild cases often do not require professional treatment. Antibiotics are used only to treat severe cases.

Salmonella infections can be life-threatening especially for young children, pregnant women and their fetuses, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. The Salmonella infection can spread from the intestines to the blood stream and cause death if not treated early.

A small number of persons infected with Salmonella develop reactive arthritis, which causes painful urination, joint pain and eye irritation. This condition can last for months or years and can lead to chronic arthritis.


Avoid cross-contamination of food. Keep uncooked meats separate from other food.

People infected with Salmonella should not prepare food for others.

Proper storage and handling of food helps prevent the growth of Salmonella and thorough cooking destroys the bacteria. Raw or undercooked meat or eggs and raw or unpasteurized dairy products should not be consumed. Produce should be washed thoroughly.

Wash hands with soap after changing diapers or using the restroom.

Wash hands after handling pets. Reptiles are especially likely to carry Salmonella, since it can contaminate their skin. Salmonella is also often found in the intestines of chicks and young birds.

Timeline of recent selected cases in the United States

Onions 2021
More than 1,000 people in 39 states became sick after a salmonella outbreak that has been linked to various types of imported onions from Mexico, according to the CDC. There were a total of 260 hospitalizations.

Mushrooms 2020
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces at least 55 people became sick in 12 different states after a salmonella outbreak that has been linked to dried wood ear mushrooms. Of the 55 infected, six hospitalizations were reported. The cases started between January 21 to September 19. The mushrooms, distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. in Sante Fe Springs, California, were sold only to restaurants and not directly to consumers.

Peaches 2020
The CDC announces a peach recall has expanded to include loose peaches and peach products after 101 people were sickened in 17 states by salmonella poisoning linked to the fruit. Of the 101 reported cases of illness, 28 victims were hospitalized. The illnesses took place from June 29 to August 27. The CDC says health officials indicated the salmonella was likely from peaches packed or suppplied by Prima Wawona or Wawona Packing Company.

Onions 2020
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport associated with onions, likely from Thomson International, Inc. in Bakersfield, California. On August 1, Thomson International recalls all varieties of onions — including red, white, yellow and sweet onions.

As of August 6, 2020, a total of 640 infections, including 85 hospitalizations, were reported in 43 states.

Backyard poultry 2020
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Hadar associated with backyard fowl, including pet poultry like chicks and ducklings.

As of July 28, 2020, a total of 938 people in 48 states have been infected, with 151 hospitalizations and one death.

Pre-cut melon 2019
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau linked to precut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and precut fruit medley products from Caito Foods LLC in Illinois.

A total of 137 persons in 10 states were infected, with 38 hospitalizations.

Mexican soft cheese and ground beef 2018
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport from ground beef from a slaughter and processing plant in Texas and soft cheese from Mexico.

A total of 255 infections, including 60 hospitalizations and two deaths, were reported in 32 states.

Live poultry 2016
Eight multistate outbreaks linked to human contact with live poultry in backyard flocks and hatcheries.

A total of 895 people in 48 states were infected, with 209 hospitalizations and three deaths. Of those sickened, 28% were children five years of age or younger.

Cucumbers 2015
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Poona linked to cucumbers imported from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.

A total of 907 persons in 40 states were infected, with 204 hospitalizations and six deaths.

September 4, 2015 – The CDC announces they are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Poona linked to cucumbers imported from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce voluntarily recalls cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” label from August 1, 2015-September 3, 2015.

Foster Farms brand chicken 2013
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg linked to Foster Farms brand chicken.

A total of 634 persons in 29 states and Puerto Rico were infected.

Live poultry 2013
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections linked to contact with live poultry purchased from feed stores and mail-order hatcheries.

A total of 356 persons in 39 states were infected, with 62 hospitalizations.

Peanut butter 2012
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney infections associated with peanut butter manufactured by Sunland, Inc. The FDA temporarily shuttered the plant where the peanut butter was manufactured but later entered a consent decree that allowed the facility to reopen after actions were taken to bolster food safety. As part of the agreement, Sunland must allow the FDA to inspect the facility to ensure compliance with the consent decree.

A total of 42 persons in 20 states were infected, with ten hospitalizations.

Raw scraped ground tuna product 2012
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Nchanga and Salmonella Bareilly infections associated with raw scraped ground tuna product from Moon Marine USA Corporation.

A total of 425 individuals were infected in 28 states, with 55 hospitalizations.

Turkish pine nuts 2011
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections associated with Turkish pine nuts purchased from bulk bins at Wegmans grocery stores.

A total of 43 individuals were infected in five states.

Ground turkey 2011
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg linked to ground turkey from Cargill Meat Solutions.

A total of 136 individuals were infected in 34 states, with 37 hospitalizations and one death.

Eggs 2010
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to eggs from Wright County Eggs and Hillandale Farms.

A high number of Salmonella Enteritidis cases prompted the CDC to investigate. The government traced the illnesses back to two egg companies in Iowa and estimated that about 1,939 illnesses were associated with the outbreak. Two executives from Quality Eggs, a company linked to Wright County Eggs and Hillandale Farms, pleaded guilty to introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. They were sentenced to three months in prison. Quality Egg also agreed to pay a $6.79 million fine for the outbreak.

Peanut butter 2008
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections associated with King Nut peanut butter manufactured by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). Two PCA executives were convicted of conspiracy to defraud customers by shipping salmonella-positive peanut products. Stewart Parnell was sentenced to 28 years in prison while his brother, Michael Parnell received a 20-year sentence.

A total of 714 individuals were infected in 46 states with nine deaths.

Peanut butter 2006
Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee associated with Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter manufactured at a ConAgra plant. ConAgra was charged with one criminal count of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The company reached a plea agreement to pay an $8 million fine and forfeit $3.2 million in assets.

A total of 628 individuals were infected in 47 states.

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