MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Muskegon County Health Department is investigating a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 15 people.
14 of the victims are Muskegon County residents and one lives in Ottawa County. Public health staff is interviewing the victims to determine the outbreak source.
Salmonella is typically a food-borne illness acquired from contaminated raw poultry, eggs, and unpasteurized milk and cheese products.
Health officials says thorough cooking kills Salmonella, however food may become contaminated by someone who does not use soap and water after using the bathroom.
Salmonella may also be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea, and people can become infected if they do not wash their hands after contact with pets or pet feces. Reptiles, such as turtles, lizards, and snakes, are particularly likely to harbor salmonella.
Most persons infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.
To reduce your chance of salmonella infection:
· Cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly. Do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs, or raw (unpasteurized) milk.
· Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
· Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles, birds, or baby chicks, and after contact with pet feces.
More information and prevention tips about salmonella can be found at www.cdc.gov/salmonella.