1. Basic Facts About Salmonella

What Is Salmonella?

Salmonellosis, or salmonella, is an illness caused by rod-shaped, gram-negative bacteria of the genus Salmonella. The species most often responsible for illness in people is Salmonella enterica (S. enterica), which is found in warm-blooded mammals and the environment. The most common form of salmonellosis is a foodborne illness that results from an infection of the gastrointestinal tract. However, in some parts of the world, the S. enterica serotype Typhi can invade the bloodstream and cause a severe and occasionally life-threatening infection known as typhoid fever.

Salmonella Symptoms

Symptoms of a foodborne salmonella infection include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. They can appear within 12 to 72 hours after infection. In most people, the illness lasts anywhere from four to seven days and usually resolves without treatment. However, the very young, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems are more susceptible to infection, and the illness may be more severe, leaving them at risk of dehydration.¹

Symptoms of typhoid fever may not appear until six to 30 days after infection and include weakness, a very high and persistent fever, constipation, headaches and, in some people, a skin rash. Diarrhea is uncommon and vomiting not severe. Symptoms may last for several months if left untreated. It is most common in people who have traveled in countries where hygiene standards are low and where food and drinking water may be contaminated.²

Who Is at Risk?

Anyone is at risk of a foodborne illness caused by salmonella. You are most at risk for salmonellosis if you:3

  • are a pregnant woman
  • are 60 years of age or older
  • are a child under 5 years of age
  • have a weakened immune system (cannot easily fight disease)

How Are Salmonella Infections Diagnosed?

Salmonellosis is diagnosed by a health care provider through laboratory testing, usually of a stool sample. If testing shows that you have salmonellosis, further testing can determine the:4

  • type of Salmonella bacteria causing the infection
  • appropriate treatment

Salmonellosis is a nationally notifiable disease in all provinces and territories. Cases are reported to:5

Canada uses different surveillance systems to monitor cases of food-borne illness. These include:5

2. The Burden of Foodborne Illness Caused by Salmonella

Food-borne bacteria, viruses and parasites cause illnesses in Canada. Canada has a very safe food supply. However, food-borne bacteria, parasites and viruses still cause illnesses in Canada.6

Every year, about 4 million (1 in 8) Canadians are affected by a food-borne illness.  Of these, there are about:6

  • 11,600 hospitalizations
  • 238 deaths

Food-borne illness (or food poisoning) can be caused by:6

  • known food-borne bacteria, parasites and viruses (such as SalmonellaCyclospora or norovirus)
  • unknown agents

The most recent average yearly estimates for food-borne illness due to known and unknown causes are:7

  • 30 food-borne bacteria, parasites and viruses:
    • 1.6 million illnesses (40% of food-borne illnesses)
    • 4,000 hospitalizations (34% of food-borne hospitalizations)
    • 105 deaths (44% of food-borne deaths)
  • unknown causes:
    • 2.4 million illnesses (60%)
    • 7,600 hospitalizations (66%)
    • 133 deaths (56%)

3. How Salmonella Spreads

Salmonella infection is spread by eating food contaminated by feces of an infected animal or person, or by drinking contaminated water. It can also be spread from person-to-person. Proper hand washing and safe food handling are key to preventing food-borne illnesses such as Salmonellosis.8

Where is Salmonella found?

Salmonella is found in domestic and wild animals, including poultry, wild birds, swine, cattle, and rodents. Reptiles such as iguanas, bearded dragons, turtles, and domestic pets such as chicks, dogs and cats may harbour the bacteria. Humans are carriers of certain types of salmonella.8

How are Salmonella outbreaks caused?

Outbreaks have been caused by inadequately cooked poultry and poultry products, uncooked or lightly cooked foods containing egg and egg products, raw milk and dairy products including dried milk. Foods have been contaminated with feces from infected food handlers. Salmonella infections have been caused by foods such as meat and poultry products processed or prepared with contaminated utensils or on contaminated work surfaces.

Salmonella outbreaks have also been linked to raw fruits and vegetables (including sprouts) and unpasteurized milk and milk products such as raw milk cheese.

Contaminated water supplies can also cause salmonella infections. Fecal-oral transmission may be the cause when diarrhea is present in infants.8

4. Salmonella Treatment

Salmonellosis symptoms usually last 4 to 7 days, and most people recover on their own without any medical treatment.

If you have salmonellosis, you may lose lots of fluid through diarrhea and vomiting. If you have these symptoms, contact your health care provider, who can:

  • advise you on how to avoid dehydration
  • monitor your illness

In severe cases, patients may need:

  • treatment with prescription drugs
  • to be given fluids intravenously (by inserting a needle into a vein).4

5. Preventing Foodborne Illnesses Caused by Salmonella

Handling Food in the Kitchen:

  • Cook ground poultry and poultry pieces to a minimum temperature of 74°C (165°F). Whole poultry must be cooked to 82°C (180°F). Cook other ground meats to 71°C (160°F). Use a probe thermometer to verify cooking temperatures.
  • Place cooked foods on clean surfaces to prevent recontamination.
  • Do not leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours.
  • Use only pasteurized milk and milk products.
  • Thoroughly cook eggs.  Do not consume raw eggs or inadequately cooked eggs (over easy, or sunny side up). Do not use an egg if it appears that the shell has been broken or damaged before you handle it.

Cleaning and Disinfection of Environmental Surfaces:

  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • When buying, preparing and storing food, keep raw meats separate from fruits, vegetables, cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Reptiles have been associated with Salmonellosis; always wash your hands after handling them. Reptiles, including turtles, are not appropriate pets for children.

Hand Hygiene:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before, during and after food preparation.
  • If you have diarrhea do not prepare food, care for hospitalized patients, the elderly or children.8

6. CloroxPro Products with Health Canada-Approved Claims Against Salmonella

The following Clorox Healthcare and CloroxPro disinfectant products have Health Canada-approved claims against Salmonella enterica, the most common species of Salmonella that causes illness. Always follow the directions for use on the label when cleaning and disinfecting.

Product DIN No Active ingredient Contact/wet time
Clorox Healthcare® Fuzion® Cleaner Disinfectant 02459744 Sodium hypochlorite 1 min
Clorox Healthcare® Bleach Germicidal Wipes 02465671 Sodium hypochlorite 30 sec
Clorox Healthcare® Bleach Germicidal Disinfecting Cleaner 02469278 Sodium hypochlorite 1 min
Clorox® Clean-Up® Disinfectant Bleach Cleaner 02494019 Sodium hypochlorite 30 sec
Clorox® Germicidal Bleach 02459108 Sodium hypochlorite 5 min
Clorox Healthcare® Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Wipes 02406225 Hydrogen peroxide 30 sec
Clorox Healthcare® Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant 02403528 Hydrogen peroxide 1 min
Clorox® Total 360® Disinfectant Cleaner 02460769 Quaternary ammonium chloride 2 min
Pine-Sol® All-Purpose Cleaner Disinfectant 02407132 Glycolic acid 10 min


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Salmonella. Accessed January 3, 2018.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Typhoid fever. Accessed January 3, 2018.
3. Public Health Canada. risk of salmonellosis (Salmonella). Accessed August 24, 2020.
4. Public Health Canada, treatment of salmonellosis (Salmonella). Accessed August 24, 2020.
5. Public Health Canada, surveillance of salmonellosis (Salmonella). Accessed August 24, 2020.
6. Public Health Canada, food-borne illness in Canada – Causes of food-borne illness in Canada. Accessed August 24, 2020.
7. Public Health Canada, food-borne illness in Canada – yearly food borne illness estimates for Canada. Accessed August 24, 2020
8. Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long-Term Care, Ontario. Accessed August 24, 2020.