Salmonella Symptoms Explained As CDC Warns of Outbreaks Linked to Italian-style Deli Meats

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned of two Salmonella outbreaks linked to Italian-style meats.

People in both outbreaks became sick after eating meats found in antipasto or charcuterie assortments, including salami and prosciutto.

As of Tuesday, 36 people had fallen ill and 12 had been hospitalized across 17 states. No foods had yet been recalled, and no deaths had been reported.

The CDC is trying to find which products were contaminated, and to understand whether the outbreaks came from the same source.

Providing advice to those who are at risk of severe Salmonella, the CDC said on Tuesday: "Until we identify which Italian-style meats are making people sick, heat all Italian-style meats to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot before eating if you are at higher risk... Heating food to a high enough temperature helps kill germs like Salmonella."

People aged over 65 years old, those with underlying health conditions, or who take medicines that affect the body's ability to fight germs, are at higher risk of developing a severe Salmonella infection, the CDC said.

What Is Salmonella and What Are the Symptoms Of An Infection?

Salmonella is the name given to a group of bacteria that can make people ill.

Illness most often happens when a person ingests contaminated food or water, such as by eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, or egg products.

Salmonella poisoning can cause a person to have a fever, stomach cramps and diarrhea, which usually occur between six hours to six days after a person is infected. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, chills, headache, and bloody stools.

Generally symptoms will clear in between four to seven days. In rarer cases, symptoms may not show for a number of weeks, and can last weeks.

Some forms of Salmonella can cause a person to become seriously ill by infecting their blood, bones, joints, the nervous system or urine.

According to the CDC, an estimated 420 people die in the U.S. because of Salmonella each year, 1.35 million infections occur, and 26,500 people are hospitalized.

How Is Salmonella Treated?

Most treatments are geared towards replacing fluids and electrolytes that may have been lost to dehydration, and the condition will clear for most people in a few days. At home, this may include drinking water or sucking on ice chips.

Some doctors may advise a person takes anti-diarrhea medication to aid cramping, but this may cause diarrhea to last longer, according to Mayo Clinic.

If a person has a severe case they may need to be hospitalized and hooked up to an IV drip.

Antibiotics may also be required if the bacteria has entered the bloodstream, the case is severe, or the individual is immunocompromized.

The Mayo Clinic states antibiotics are not necessary in mild cases as they may mean a person can pass on the bacteria to others for longer, and make a person prone to relapse.

deli meat, salmonella, stock, getty
A stock image shows deli-style meats. The CDC is investigating an outbreak linked to such foods. Getty Images