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The Division of Public Health from Alaska traveled last week to Bethel to investigate an unexpected Salmonella outbreak.
A state epidemiologist said that the infections are due to an unexplained situation. There had been six cases of Salmonella reported in the town, even if it’s just the middle of July.
The small location of the Salmonella outbreak, the short amount of time and the high number of confirmed cases raises the attention of the health representatives.
The hypothesis so far is that the cause can be a contaminated product or a person that had Salmonella and spread the infection to others in the area.
Bethel has a population of almost 6,300 people, and it is located in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
According to the 2011-2014 statistics, the number of annual reported cases of Salmonella in the state is between 55 and 83.
The officials recommend people in the region that show the symptoms to see a doctor.
Salmonella is a bacillus that infects the intestines and can cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, stomach ache, headache, dehydration. The signs appear up to 72h after the exposure, and the disease can last between four and seven days.
The bacteria leaves the body in the stool, and people that are infected can pass the Salmonella to others if they do not wash their hands after they used the bathroom.
The infection can appear after consuming the food, the water or the milk had been contaminated. Animals, such as ducks, chickens, pigs, cows, rodents or reptiles can also get infected and pass the bacteria to humans. Pets can also become a source of infection.
Most people can recover without treatment. However, antibiotics are sometimes prescribed for people who have severe illness, for infants or people with chronic medical conditions. The most vulnerable are the individuals who suffer from sickle cell disease, HIV infection, cancer, gastrointestinal disease or immune systems problems.
In order to prevent the disease, people should wash hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing diapers. Hands should be washed after handling animals or eating and preparing food.
A lot of attention should be given to food, which must be properly stored and cooked. Food preparation surfaces must be disinfected.
Moreover, people who have diarrhea should not care for children, provide health care or handle food. Children with diarrhea must not attend school or child care.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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