Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Reduce the risk of a Salmonella infection from eggs by cooking them thoroughly.

Reduce the risk of a Salmonella infection from eggs by cooking them thoroughly.
beginning of content


3-minute read

What is salmonella?

Salmonella infection is a type of gastroenteritis (or 'gastro'). It is caused by Salmonella bacteria. It is likely to make someone feel sick, possibly with fever, diarrhoea and vomiting, and it usually lasts for 2 to 7 days.

What are the symptoms of salmonella?

Symptoms start between 6 hours and 7 days after you have been infected and may include:

What causes salmonella?

Salmonella poisoning is caused by infection with bacteria that are transferred to the mouth from:

  • contaminated food, water or the hands
  • another person's hand or a contaminated surface
  • animal faeces (poo)

Contaminated food can look and smell normal.

If you have salmonella, you should avoid contact with other people for at least 24 hours after your vomiting and diarrhoea stops.

You can spread it for as long as you carry the bacteria — which may be months after you stop having any symptoms. Read more about food poisoning.

How is salmonella diagnosed?

You should see a doctor if the infection is making you or your child dehydrated or if it causes:

  • fever
  • severe abdominal pain
  • bloody diarrhoea

If you think your baby has salmonella, you should consult a doctor immediately.

Diagnosis is made by collecting a stool (poo) sample to test for the bacteria.

How is salmonella treated?

You should drink a lot of fluids such as water or oral rehydration drinks (from your pharmacist).

Most people recover within about a week and do not need antibiotics. However, antibiotics may be prescribed for young children or older people.

Avoid medicine to prevent vomiting or diarrhoea, unless recommended by your doctor.

Watch out for dehydration in both adults and children. If a baby has salmonella, continue breastfeeding. If they are formula fed, continue feeding after rehydrating them with oral rehydration solution.

Can salmonella be prevented?

The best way to prevent salmonella is to:

  • handle and cook food safely
  • wash your hands after going to the toilet, before and after preparing food, changing nappies and after touching animals
  • take care in selecting, preparing and eating high-risk foods such as raw or incompletely cooked eggs, unpasteurised milk and incompletely cooked chicken

Salmonella infections are common in Asia, the Pacific islands, Africa, the Middle East and Central and South America. If you travel to these parts, avoid foods that may be contaminated such as salads and fresh fruit salads, raw or cold seafood, or cold meat. In these areas, use bottled water for drinking and for brushing teeth. Do not have ice in drinks or washed or cut fruit.

Learn more about travel health, good hand hygiene and handling food safely.


SA Health (Salmonella infection - symptoms, treatment and prevention), Healthy WA (Salmonella infection)

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2021

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Salmonella infection (salmonellosis)

Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is a type of gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella bacteria. In Australia, most Salmonella infections occur after eating contaminated food but also sometimes after contact with another person with the infection.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Gastroenteritis - salmonellosis - Better Health Channel

You may be more prone to salmonellosis if you are elderly, have another medical condition (such as a weakened immune system) or are malnourished.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Salmonellosis | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

Find out how we define and monitor cases of salmonellosis, and where you can learn more about this disease.

Read more on Department of Health and Aged Care website

Salmonella infection | SA Health

An infection of the bowel caused by Salmonella bacteria which occurs in many domestic and wild animals and birds and can infect humans

Read more on SA Health website

Typhoid and paratyphoid fever

Typhoid and paratyphoid fever are illnesses caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi and Salmonella paratyphi.

Read more on WA Health website

Typhoid -

Typhoid fever is an infection caused by Salmonella typhi. Most cases in Australia occur in travellers returning from developing countries.

Read more on myDr website

Typhoid and paratyphoid fact sheet - Fact sheets

Typhoid fever is caused by an infection with bacteria called Salmonella Typhi. In Australia, most typhoid infections are acquired overseas by individuals eating contaminated food or water while visiting friends and relatives in developing countries.

Read more on NSW Health website

Typhoid and paratyphoid - Better Health Channel

Almost every Australian case of typhoid or paratyphoid fever is caught overseas.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.