18 April 2019
A bad belly may not be a result of too many chocolate bunnies, with food lovers urged to take extra care preparing their Easter feasts so they avoid unwanted servings of Salmonella.

NSW Health’s Director of Communicable Diseases Dr Vicky Sheppeard said most Salmonella infections occur after someone has eaten contaminated food.

“The best way to prevent Salmonella infections is to ensure meat, poultry and eggs are thoroughly cooked and not left sitting out in warm temperatures, which causes the bacteria to multiply,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“A handy tip to remember is to throw out any food that is meant to be served cold from the fridge or hot from the oven if it’s been sitting on your table or kitchen bench for more than two hours.

“Also make sure you practice good hand hygiene by ensuring you have thoroughly washed your hands before and after handling food to prevent potential Salmonella infection.”

Some of the most common sources of outbreaks of salmonellosis in NSW involve food products containing undercooked eggs or poor hygiene in the kitchen when bacteria from eggs or chicken spread into other foods during preparation.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include fever, headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. The symptoms usually start around six to 72 hours after someone has eaten contaminated food and can last a week or more.

“Salmonellosis can be quite severe and in some cases, particularly with young babies, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, people have to be hospitalised to manage dehydration,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“Anyone infected with salmonellosis should not prepare food for others while they are unwell, and for 48 hours once their symptoms have passed.”

There’s been 1406 notified cases of salmonella in NSW so far this year, compared to an average of 1,632 for the same corresponding period for the previous three years.

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