Can Salmonella Transfer Through Breast Milk

Can Salmonella Transfer Through Breast Milk

Salmonella is a group of bacteria that is known to cause diarrhea. These are micro organisms pass from fecal matter of humans and animals.  Salmonella serotype Typhimurium and Salmonella serotype Enteritidis are the two types that are commonly found in the United States. They are named after American veterinary surgeon Daniel E. Salmon who discovered them in pigs.

These bacteria do not produce any toxins but they induce responses in the body. The symptoms are related to gastrointestinal part of the body.

A person infected with Salmonella develops diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours after getting infected. The illness can last for 3 to 7 days and generally people recover without medical help. If the diarrhea is severe it can lead to dehydration. In some cases the infection can travel from the intestine to other parts of the body through the blood stream and treatment with antibiotics will be required to prevent death of the patient. For infants, elderly and people whose immune system is weak this infection can become a serious illness.

The infection usually comes through undercooked meat products and eggs. It can spread through milk products that get infected with poor handing. It can also come through the skin of reptiles such as turtles, lizards and snakes. Every year 40,000 cases of salmonellosis get reported in the United States. Actual cases could be much higher as many mild cases do not get reported. The incidence of this infection among children below 5 years old is 5 times higher than other age groups. 

So, can Salmonella transfer through breast milk? No, if the mother is breast feeding. Mother's milk is the safest food for infants. Breastfeeding can prevent infection from Salmonella and many other health problems too. However, if expressed milk is not stored properly in the refrigerator, there is a possibility of the breast milk getting infected with Salmonella. Under those circumstances, it is quite possible for Salmonella to transfer through breast milk.

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Can Salmonella Transfer Through Breast Milk