Public Health Muskegon County is working with state and local partners to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella that so far includes 15 confirmed cases (14 Muskegon County residents, 1 Ottawa County resident). Public health staff are currently interviewing those who are ill to gather information to determine the source of the outbreak.
Salmonella is typically a food-borne illness acquired from contaminated raw poultry, eggs, and unpasteurized milk and cheese products. Thorough cooking kills Salmonella. Food may also become contaminated by the hands of an infected food handler who did not wash hands with soap after using the bathroom.
Salmonella may also be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea, and people can become infected if they do not wash their hands after contact with pets or pet feces. Reptiles, such as turtles, lizards, and snakes, are particularly likely to harbor Salmonella.
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.
To reduce your chance of Salmonella infection:
• Cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly. Do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs, or raw (unpasteurized) milk.
• Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
• Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles, birds, or baby chicks, and after contact with pet feces.