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After a Ferrero product recall: How dangerous is salmonella?
From Ü egg to chocolate brownie – confectionery manufacturer Ferrero has to recall products on a large scale just before Easter. The reason: salmonella. But are bacteria really that dangerous?
These are dark days for candy maker Ferrero. Just before Easter, the company has to deal with a real scandal and take out large quantities of products from the market – in Germany and other countries. Bacteria are to blame. More precisely: salmonella. According to Ferrero, select groups of “kids” products made in Belgium are affected by the recall process (read more). It relates to “the possibility of contact with a number of reported cases of salmonella”. Although none of its “kids” products have tested positive for salmonella, Ferrero takes it seriously, “because consumer protection is our top priority.”
What is salmonella? Where do they perform? What makes it dangerous to humans? Overview.
What is salmonella?
Salmonella is a rod-shaped bacterium that belongs to the family of Enterobacteriaceae. They are found all over the world and can cause illness in humans and animals. Bacteria are particularly resistant and adaptable.
Where is salmonella mainly found?
Salmonella multiply in the digestive system of humans and animals. It is often found in animals. Usually pathogens cannot do much to harm them. Salmonella infestations of farm animals may be a problem for humans. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), livestock, i.e. cattle, pigs, poultry, and their corresponding animal foods are “on top of the potential causes of infection”. Best example: eggs. salmonella (more precisely: S. EnteritidisIt is transmitted frequently in Germany, especially when eggs or foods in which eggs are processed, such as ice cream, are not sufficiently heated. But the bacteria can also spread through raw meat or meat products that haven’t been heated properly, in this case S. typhimuriumMove.
How do you get salmonella?
Salmonella triggers are ingested orally – primarily through food. It’s important to know that even food that isn’t actually contaminated with salmonella can become a risk of infection if it comes into contact with contaminated surfaces, foods, or infected people. Then we talk about the so-called cross-contamination. Transmission of the pathogen from the animal that secretes Salmonella to humans through direct contact is less common. It is also possible for the infection to be transmitted from person to person. One factor in these transfers could be poor hygiene. Infection also occurs in connection with medical measures. According to the RKI, it is also more likely to be transmitted through food if salmonellosis outbreaks occur in hospitals, the elderly, or nursing homes.
What is the incubation period?
How long it takes for the disease to flare up after infection depends on the dose of the infection and the type of serovar, ie the type of salmonella. The incubation period is usually 12 to 36 hours, but the disease can occur after only six hours or up to 72 hours.
What are the symptoms?
Salmonella food poisoning. Acute enterocolitis is typical. Then patients often have symptoms such as fever, sudden diarrhea, headache, and abdominal pain for several days. Some are vomiting too.
How is salmonellosis treated?
Symptoms usually go away on their own after a few days. If only the gastrointestinal tract is affected, antibiotic treatment is usually avoided. The reason for this is that it can prolong the excretion of bacteria. Patients are contagious for a longer period of time. However, if inflammation occurs in other organs, it is treated with antibiotics.
How dangerous is salmonella to humans?
The RKI writes that the risks of severe courses of salmonellosis are higher among hospital patients and those in need of care than among the general population. According to the Federal Center for Health Education, infants and young children, as well as the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are especially at risk. Symptoms caused by salmonellosis can lead to severe dehydration. Pregnant women should also be careful, if they become infected, there is a risk of premature birth.
In rare cases, writes RKI, primary gastroenteritis can take a septic course, sometimes with a high fever. Other complications, such as meningitis, pneumonia, or abscesses, can occur, especially in people over 60 years of age. According to the RKI, deaths from salmonellosis are rare (0.1 percent), and the elderly and frail are primarily affected. And: “However, the reported data underestimate mortality because infections, once reported, are not tracked until the end of the disease.”
What age groups are most affected by salmonellosis?
According to the RKI, most salmonella cases are counted by population in children under the age of 10, and young children are often affected in particular.
How long do infected people last?
On average, adults excrete the so-called salmonella enteritis for a month. Children under the age of five are contagious for a longer time. They excrete pathogens for seven weeks or more. In the case of children with a severe development of the disease, the period can extend to more than half a year.
How common is salmonella disease?
In 2020, 109 outbreaks with 592 diseases were reported to RKI. This makes salmonellosis the second most common bacterial gastrointestinal disease. The peak of infection is in late summer.
What are known outbreaks of salmonella in Germany?
The RKI lists the full gamut of salmonella outbreaks. Accordingly, the pathogens were probably present in herbal tea, smoked eel and chocolate. Watermelon and bean sprouts are also mentioned.
sources:RKI, BZgA and LAVES