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What is the difference between Salmonella and E. coli?

Salmonella and E. coli are different types of bacteria:

Salmonella

Salmonella is the name of a group of bacteria. In the United States, it is the most common cause of foodborne illness. Salmonella occurs in raw poultry, eggs, beef, and sometimes on unwashed fruit and vegetables.

Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and headache. Salmonella symptoms usually last 4 - 7 days. Most people get better without treatment. It can be more serious in the elderly, infants and people with chronic conditions. If Salmonella gets into the bloodstream, it can be serious, or even life-threatening. The usual treatment is antibiotics.

Read more about Salmonella infections. (MedlinePlus.gov)

E.coli (Escherichia coli)

E. coli is the name of a type of bacteria that lives in your intestines. Most types of E. coli are harmless. However, some types can make you sick and cause diarrhea. One type causes travelers' diarrhea. The worst type of E. coli causes bloody diarrhea, and can sometimes cause kidney failure and even death. These problems are most likely to occur in children and in adults with weak immune systems.

You can get E. coli infections by eating foods containing the bacteria. To help avoid food poisoning and prevent infection, handle food safely. Cook meat well, wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them, and avoid unpasteurized milk and juices. You can also get the infection by swallowing water in a swimming pool contaminated with human waste.

Read more about E. coli infections. (MedlinePlus.gov)

Category

Public Health and Safety
Content created by Digital Communications Division (DCD)
Content last reviewed on August 11, 2014