According to an article in the Bismarck Tribune, the North Dakota Department of Health is investigating a Salmonella outbreak among McLean County residents.  The apparent outbreak occurred last week, and sickened members of two groups who ate foods catered by the same unlicensed caterer.  Nine people were hospitalized, and approximately 40 people became ill after attending the two events – a family reunion in Wilton and a wedding in Washburn. 

Symptoms of Salmonella infection

include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting. In mild cases diarrhea may be non-bloody, occur several times per day, and not be very voluminous; in severe cases it may be frequent, bloody and/or mucoid, and of high volume.

Fever generally occurs in the 100°F to 102°F (38°C to 39°C) range. Vomiting is less common than diarrhea. Headaches, myalgias (muscle pain), and arthralgias (joint pain) are often reported as well. Whereas the diarrhea typically lasts 24 to 72 hours, patients often report fatigue and other nonspecific symptoms lasting 7 days or longer.

Salmonella infections usually resolve in five to seven days, and many times require no treatment unless the patient becomes severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines. Persons with severe diarrhea may require re-hydration, often with intravenous fluids.

Treatment with antibiotics is not usually necessary; however, if the infection spreads from the intestines, or otherwise persists, the infection can be treated with ampicillin, gentamicin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, ceftriaxone, amoxicillin, or ciprofloxacin. The length of treatment varies depending on the extent of a patient’s illness, and can range from 14 days for enteric fever to six weeks for bactremia (Mayo Clinic, 2007, April 12). Some Salmonella bacteria have become antibiotic-resistant.

Consult your healthcare provider if you believe you have become ill with salmonellosis.