Posts Tagged ‘salmonellosis’

Turtles look cute but are dangerous to pregnant women and young children

Friday, January 27th, 2017

boy w pet turtleIf you’re pregnant or have children under the age of 5, you should remove any reptile or amphibian you may have in your home. That’s because they can carry salmonella, a bacteria that can make you and your children very sick – it can even be life threatening.

The salmonella bacteria is commonly carried by reptiles, such as lizards, snakes and turtles, and amphibians, such as frogs, salamanders and newts. Chickens, ducks and geese can also carry salmonella.

Pregnant women, infants, young children and anyone with a weakened immune system are at a higher risk of getting the infection.

The risk of salmonella is so serious that the sale of turtles less than 4 inches in size has been banned in the United States since 1975. These little creatures may look cute but they have the potential to cause serious disease. The CDC warns: “Don’t be fooled Just because you can’t see the bacteria doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”

According to the FDA, the death of a 4-week-old baby in Florida in 2007 “was linked to Salmonella from a small turtle. The DNA of the Salmonella from the turtle matched that from the infant.”

Scary stuff.

How can you get infected with Salmonella?

You can get infected by eating foods that are contaminated with Salmonella, such as poultry, meat and eggs, or by touching an infected animal.

Even if a pet reptile has a negative test for salmonella, it doesn’t mean the animal is not infected. It may mean that the animal was just not “shedding salmonella” on the day it was tested. Salmonella can be found in feces (poop), soil, water (including fish tank water), and the food and bedding of infected animals. Salmonella germs can spread easily to an animal’s fur, feathers and scales.

Symptoms of salmonellosis

Signs of salmonellosis usually start a half day to three days after contact and symptoms last from four to seven days. Call your health care provider right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Belly pain
  • Blood in your stool (poop) or dark or amber-colored urine (pee)
  • Dehydration (not enough water or fluids in your body)
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains
  • Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting (throwing up)

To check for salmonellosis, your health care provider will take a stool sample and send it to a lab for testing.

Is Salmonella dangerous during pregnancy?

Yes. It can lead to health complications during pregnancy, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Bacteremia (bacteria in the blood), which can lead to problems, like meningitis, a serious infection that causes swelling in the brain and spinal cord.
  • Reactive arthritis (also called Reiter’s syndrome), which can cause swelling or pain in your joints.

Salmonellosis can be passed to your baby during pregnancy. If your baby is born with salmonellosis, she may have diarrhea and fever after birth. She also may develop meningitis.

Bottom line

Don’t have turtles and other reptiles or amphibians in your home. If you touch them at a petting zoo or other place, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands immediately after coming into contact with them.

Have questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

 

Memorial Day Weekend = picnics and parties

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend picnicThe long weekend is right around the corner and if you’re like me, you’ve been planning a gathering in the backyard for friends and family. This is the perfect time to celebrate the start of summer! Not only is my event outside in the (hopefully) sunny weather, but a couple of my friends are also pregnant. So I want to make sure I have appropriate food options that accommodate the hot weather and my guests.

Here’s my party checklist:

  • Provide non-alcoholic drinks for pregnant guests and those thinking about becoming pregnant.
  • Provide indoor space or shaded areas to stay cool.
  • Have sunscreen available.
  • Handle food safely. Wash your hands with soap before handling or serving food. Be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables before cooking or serving.
  • Salads and recipes containing mayonnaise should be kept cold and out of the sun.
  • Make sure your meats such as hamburgers and grilled chicken are cooked thoroughly to avoid salmonella poisoning.
  • Read up on listeriosis, a kind of food poisoning that is harmful to pregnant women to ensure the food you serve is safe for all to enjoy.

Now that your menu is properly prepared, you’ll be able to comfortably enjoy time with your guests.

Questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org

 

You’re pregnant, can you drink eggnog?

Monday, December 14th, 2015

eggnogThe answer is yes and no. It depends. Here’s the scoop:

Store-bought eggnog

Traditionally, eggnog was made with raw eggs, which is not good for pregnant women due to the health concerns of salmonella. Salmonella causes salmonellosis, a kind of food poisoning that can be dangerous during pregnancy . However, currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restricts the use of raw eggs to less than 1% in products.

  • If you’re buying eggnog at the store, be sure to check the ingredient label to ensure it is egg-free or contains less than 1% egg product.
  • Also it is important that your eggnog be pasteurized. Pasteurization is a heat process that destroys salmonella that might be in eggs.

Homemade eggnog

Many families make a batch of home-made (and alcohol-free!) eggnog as part of their holiday traditions, but homemade eggnog causes many cases of salmonella each year due to raw or undercooked eggs. If you’re going to make your own eggnog, here are some tips:

  • Use egg substitute products or pasteurized eggs.
  • If you are using pasteurized eggs, the FDA recommends starting with a cooked egg base to ensure your safety.
    • To make a cooked egg base, combine eggs and half the milk as indicated in the recipe. (Other ingredients, such as sugar may be added at this step.) Cook the mixture gently to a temperature of 160°F, stirring constantly. The cooking will destroy Salmonella, if present. At this temperature, the mixture will firmly coat a metal spoon. After cooking, chill the mixture before adding the rest of the milk and other ingredients.

You can keep your eggnog holiday traditions, but remember to read all the labels on eggnog containers or carefully prepare your homemade eggnog.

Chicken and salmonella

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

In the last few days, you may have heard about people getting sick from salmonella found in some chicken. Salmonella are a kind of bacteria that cause the food poisoning, salmonellosis. You can get salmonellosis and other kinds of food poisoning from harmful germs in something you eat or drink.

Salmonellosis can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and headache. If you get salmonellosis during pregnancy, it can cause serious and even life-threatening problems for you and your growing baby.

So far, 300 people in over 18 states have gotten sick.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that the tainted chicken came from three Foster Farms packaging plants in California. The chicken may have the following UDSA inspection numbers: P6137, P6137A and P7632. The USDA is still investigating and hasn’t officially announced a recall yet.

In the meantime, be sure to cook all meats well to help avoid salmonellosis and other kinds of food poisoning. Use a food thermometer and cook chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 F. Wash hands and clean work space after handling raw chicken and other meats. Learn more tips about handling food safely.

Pet safety – salmonella in dog food

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

isa-riding-lolaAt our house, Lola isn’t just our pet. She’s a member of the family and my little girl’s best friend. The two of them get into all sorts of high jinks! Having Lola in our lives has been nothing short of wonderful. But there are still certain things I need to do to keep us all healthy and safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that a recent outbreak in salmonella infections, especially in young children, was linked to dog food. Salmonella infection is caused by bacteria. It can lead to diarrhea, fever, nausea and stomachache for several days. Some people may even need to get hospital treatment. It’s not that people are eating the dog food. Instead, people are likely getting sick either by touching the spoiled dog food or by playing with a dog that has salmonella infection. The dog food in question was made by Diamond Pet Foods and has been recalled. If you have a pet and are pregnant or have children at home, there are things you can do to stay healthy and safe. One thing you can do is learn more about what kinds of pets and other animals are OK to have in your home. Some pets may be fine to have at home so long as you take certain steps to care for your pets and yourself. Other animals may not be OK to have at home when pregnant or if you have children. Also, be sure everyone washes their hands after handling an animal. Animals can carry bacteria or certain illnesses. Additionally, feed your pet in an area away from the kitchen or where you prepare meals. This helps lessen the chance that any bacteria from your pet’s food can be carried to areas where you make or eat food. Wash your hands after feeding your pet, too. Lastly, keep kids away from your pet’s litter box, food and water bowls. My little girl has always been fascinated with Lola’s dog bowls and I’m not sure why. But several times, I’ve caught her playing with Lola’s food pebbles, to which I immediately grab my little girl and wash her hands. If only I can get her as interested in putting her toys away!

Peanut butter recall

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Smucker’s® is recalling its Natural Peanut Butter Chunky because it may have Salmonella, bacteria that cause salmonellosis infection. People with salmonellosis can get sick and may have diarrhea, fever, vomiting and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.

The recall is for Smucker’s® Natural Peanut Butter Chunky with the following details:

• Purchased between November 8 – 17, 2011
• UPC 5150001701 (located on the side of the jar’s label below the bar code)
• Production Codes 1307004 and 1308004
• Best-If-Used-By dates August 3, 2012 and August 4, 2012
• Chunky product only (not creamy)

In most healthy adults, symptoms can last for days. But pregnant women, babies and others with weakened immune systems can sometimes become seriously ill from Salmonella infection.  Occasionally, a pregnant woman can pass a Salmonella infection on to her baby. After birth, her baby can get diarrhea, fever and, less frequently, meningitis after birth. Meningitis is an infection of the membranes surrounding the brain.

Visit the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website for more information on the peanut butter recall.

Don’t eat that!

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

There is so much to pay attention to these days regarding food that sometimes you can feel spooked about putting anything in your mouth.  This stuff is “good,” that’s “bad,” even though it was good yesterday…  Try not to go crazy and remember the old adage, “everything in moderation.”

Still, it is important to watch what you eat because not all foods are safe for pregnant women. Some contain high levels of chemicals that can affect your baby’s development. Others put you at risk for getting an infection that can hurt your baby.  Here are some tips:
• Avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tile fish. These fish can contain potentially risky levels of mercury. The same for raw fish, especially shellfish (oysters, clams)
• Cook all meat, poultry and seafood thoroughly to kill bacteria.
• Cook all eggs well and avoid soft-scrambled eggs and all foods made with raw or lightly cooked eggs (does that Caesar salad dressing have raw egg in it?)
• Avoid soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk. Examples are Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, blue-veined, queso blanco, queso fresco and Panela. Check the label to see what kind of milk was used to make the cheese.
• All milk and any foods made from it should be pasteurized. So should juices.
• Raw vegetable sprouts, including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean might be sources of salmonella, so don’t eat them.

Pets during pregnancy

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

lola-2My husband and I had a recent addition to our home. Her name is Lola – a 4-month-old Boston Terrier that we adopted from an animal rescue center. Lola is such a cutie pie! She’s as playful as any other puppy and loves to cuddle when I pick her up. As the first addition to our family, Lola knows she’s the star of the show. But one day, when my husband and I are getting ready to welcome our first baby into the world, Lola will have to make room!

Pets can bring much fun and joy to the household dynamic. But pregnant women and mommies with young kids need to be careful about the kinds of animals they keep in their home and particularly how to handle them. Some things to keep in mind:

• Dogs with bad habits (biting or pouncing) should be broken of these habits before the baby arrives.

• If you have a cat, have someone else change its litter box to avoid getting toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. This infection can cause birth defects or loss of pregnancy.

• Hamsters, guinea pigs and pet mice may carry a virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), which can cause severe birth defects during pregnancy. Keep these pets in a separate part of the home and have someone else feed the pet and clean its cage.

Turtles, reptiles and other exotic pets may carry salmonellosis (salmonella infection). Pregnant women and children under age 5 are at increased risk of this bacterial infection, so it’s best if they stay away from these kinds of animals.

Learn more and get helpful tips about how to handle pets and other animals during pregnancy.

More salmonella???

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

pistachiosNo, this is not an April Fool’s joke.

I know there have been several recent posts on our blog about salmonella.  It’s not that we’re obsessed with salmonella or that we’re trying to create a panic. It’s just that this topic keeps popping up in the news and we want to make sure we give you all the information you need to make healthy choices.

So, here’s the latest. A company in California that sells pistachios has found traces of salmonella in its product. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a voluntary recall of pistachios and products that contain pistachios (including ice cream and trail mix packs). They also recommend that people avoid pistachios until more information is known about the extent of the problem. Here’s a list to the products that have been recalled so far.

I hope I didn’t put too much of a downer on your Wednesday, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.