What is salmonella and how do you catch it?

Broken egg
Uncooked eggs can lead to salmonella. Photo: Marc Tirl/DPA

With over 50 cases of salmonella reported in the UK in the last month, here's a quick breakdown of what the disease is and how it is caught.

  • Salmonella infection is a disease caused by bacteria.
  • The bacteria are found in uncooked meat, seafood, poultry and eggs. It is also found in unclean water and anything that has been washed in it, for example fruit and vegetables. The disease can also be carried by pets like turtles, rodents and birds.
  • Using a bowl that has previously had eggs broken on it is a common cause of salmonella.
Cooked ham
Cooked ham has been linked to the recent salmonella outbreak Credit: Paul Seheult/Eye Ubiquitous
  • The symptoms of salmonella poisoning are headaches, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting.
  • The biggest danger from salmonella is dehydration. Signs of this include dry tongue or skin, increased thirst, dark or decreased urine and weakness.
Jug of water
If worried about having salmonella it's important to drink plenty of fluids Credit: Oliver Berg/DPA
  • You should visit a doctor if diarrhoea continues for more than 24 hours, is frequent and intense or contains blood - or if you have severe stomach cramps, dehydration, a fever of above 37 Celsius or yellowish discoloration of the skin or eyes.