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Salmonella enterocolitis

  • Definition

    Salmonella enterocolitis is an infection in the lining of the small intestine caused by Salmonella bacteria.

    Alternative Names


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Salmonella enterocolitis is one of the most common types of food poisoning. It occurs when you swallow food or water that is contaminated with the salmonella bacteria. Any food can become contaminated if food preparation conditions and equipment are unsanitary.

    You are more likely to get this type of infection if you have:

    • Eaten improperly prepared or stored food (especially undercooked turkey or chicken, unrefrigerated turkey dressing, undercooked eggs)
    • Family members with recent salmonella infection
    • Had a recent family illness with gastroenteritis
    • Been in an institution
    • Eaten chicken recently
    • A pet iguana or other lizards, turtles, or snakes (reptiles are carriers of salmonella)
    • A weakened immune system

    Approximately 40,000 people develop salmonella infection in the United States each year. Most patients are younger than 20. The highest rate occurs from July through October.