Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Factors that may increase your risk of salmonella infection include activities that may bring you into closer contact with salmonella bacteria and health problems that may weaken your resistance to infection in general.
- International travel. Salmonella infection, including the varieties that cause typhoid fever, is more common in developing countries with poor sanitation.
- Owning a pet bird or reptile. Some pets, particularly birds and reptiles, can be infected with salmonella bacteria.
- Living in group housing. People who live in college dorms or nursing homes might be at higher risk of infection simply because they are exposed to more people. In addition, food prepared at institutions often uses large amounts of ground meat or unshelled eggs that have been pooled from many different sources. This allows one infected egg or infected hamburger to contaminate the entire batch.
Stomach or bowel disorders
Your body has many natural defenses against salmonella infection. For example, strong stomach acid can kill many types of salmonella bacteria. But some medical problems or medications can short-circuit these natural defenses. Examples include:
- Antacids. Lowering your stomach's acidity allows more salmonella bacteria to survive.
- Inflammatory bowel disease. This disorder damages the lining of your intestines, which makes it easier for salmonella bacteria to take hold.
- Recent use of antibiotics. This can reduce the number of "good" bacteria in your intestines, which may impair your ability to fight off a salmonella infection.
The following medical problems or medications appear to increase your risk of contracting salmonella by impairing your immune system.
- Sickle cell disease
- Anti-rejection drugs taken after organ transplants
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