Salmonella is an important cause of food poisoning, and after campylobacteriosis it is the second most common cause of bacterial diarrhoea in the UK.
There are many types of non-typhoid salmonella, most of which inhabit animal intestines. However, a few commonly infect man, including S. enteritidis, S. typhimurium, S. virchow, S. hadar, S. heidelberg, S. agona and S. indiana. The prevalence of each serotype changes regularly in different areas.
Infection usually occurs via contaminated meat and eggs, and the clinical effects are varied, either presenting as an acute enterocolitis or invasive salmonellosis.
Salmonellosis should not be confused with enteric fevers which are systemic, bacteraemic illnesses caused by S. typhi and S. paratyphi and present in a more non-specific manner.