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Every year salmonella poisoning is estimated to cause about 1.2 million illnesses in the U.S., along with 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths. Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after infection. Contaminated eggs, poultry, meat and contact with reptiles are among the most common causes, but raw fruits and vegetables as well as contact with pet food can also cause contamination.

Salmonella Poisoning: Top Causes of the Bacterial Infection

1. Chicken

Chicken is likely the most common and widespread cause of salmonella poisoning. This is especially true of factory farmed chicken that travels far and wide, spreading contaminated birds throughout the country. Foster Farms Chicken, for example, has already sickened 524 people in 25 states and Puerto Rico with Salmonella Heidelberg. In all, 37 percent of patients had to be hospitalized and the illness is largely resistant to antibiotics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. Although these antibiotics are not typically used to treat Salmonella bloodstream infections or other severe Salmonella infections, antibiotic resistance can be associated with increased risk of hospitalization in infected individuals.”

2. Eggs

Eggs are another common cause of salmonella poisoning. A half-billion eggs were recalled nationwide after a huge salmonella poisoning outbreak on an Iowa farm a few years back. This particular outbreak sickened 2,400 people.

3. Contact with Reptiles

Contact with pet bearded dragon lizards have caused 150 cases of salmonella poisoning  in 35 states and it’s a problem that’s growing. The particular strain of salmonella, found as a result of the bearded dragon lizard, is extremely, extremely rare. Salmonella bacteria hangs out on the skin of reptiles like turtles, lizards, and frogs because they have so much contact with water, but it doesn’t actually make them sick.

4. Sprouted foods

Recently, 21 people in 12 states were infected with the outbreak strains of salmonella sourced from organic sprouted chia powder. Unlike other fresh produce, seeds and beans need warm and humid conditions to sprout and grow–such conditions are also ideal for the growth of bacteria.

5. Stomach Medications

Certain stomach issues can increase your vulnerability to salmonella bacteria. For example, antacids lower your stomach’s acidity and allow the bacteria to thrive. Inflammatory bowel disease damages the lining of the stomach which allows bacteria to take hold. Use of antibiotics can decrease good bacteria in your gut, which is necessary to fend off infection.

Related on Organic Authority

Antibiotic Resistance: Ongoing Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Foster Farms Chicken

Major U.S. Cities Move to Ban Non-Therapeutic Use of Antibiotics in Livestock Feed

Can Antibiotic Resistance and Superbugs be Stopped with Special Proteins?

Image: Mike Dot Mike