salmonella

Pronunciation: [sal-muh-NEHL-uh]

A strain of bacteria that can enter the human system through contaminated water or food such as meat or poultry, and eggs with cracked shells. Other foods can be contaminated by touching salmonella-carrying foods or unwashed surfaces (like cutting boards) that have had contact with them. The presence of salmonella is difficult to detect because it gives no obvious warnings (such as an off smell or taste). The bacteria can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever and chills. It can attack in as little time as six to seven hours or take as long as three days. It seldom causes death and can be cured with antibiotics.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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