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Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and head of the Division of Infectious Disease

Thomas A. Russo, MD, head of the Division of Infectious Disease in the Department of Medicine.

Russo Offers Tips to Prevent Salmonella Poisoning

Published August 11, 2011

Thirty-six million pounds of ground turkey were recently recalled due to reports of salmonella poisoning in 26 states, including New York.

A University at Buffalo infectious disease expert offers advice on how to prevent illness from the bacteria.

“There are three easy, fail-safe ways to avoid contamination, especially for anyone grilling ground beef or turkey.”
Thomas A. Russo, MD
Professor of medicine and head of the Division of Infectious Disease

Tips on Meat Preparation and Clean Up

There are three easy, fail-safe ways to avoid contamination, especially for anyone grilling ground beef or turkey, says Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and head of the Department of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Disease.

One: Always place cooked meats on a clean plate.

“If someone is grilling turkey or beef burgers, they often make the raw patty, bring it out to the grill on a plate, grill it and then slap it on the same plate once it’s cooked,” says Russo. “If you do this, you run the risk of contaminating the cooked burgers.”

Two: When making patties out of raw meat, always wash your hands and any surfaces you have touched.

The best way to wash down kitchen surfaces is with a solution of one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water, says Russo.

Three: Cook ground meat to 160-165 Fahrenheit.

This should result in the juices “running clear” and no pink meat.

Salmonella Symptoms and Outcomes Vary

In most people, illness from salmonella will resolve on its own without any treatment, Russo says.

“If you are healthy and become sick from salmonella, you will experience diarrhea and may run a low-grade fever and feel lethargic for a few days.

“More than likely, the illness will resolve on its own without any treatment.”

Individuals who are not in good health, however, can become much sicker from salmonella poisoning, and extra precautions should be taken to keep them from becoming infected.

These individuals include those who are:

  • taking steroids
  • receiving cancer chemotherapies
  • on immunosuppressive drugs following transplant
  • being treated for sickle-cell disease
  • infected with HIV/AIDS
  • diagnosed with rheumatologic conditions and are on biologic modulates such as TNF-alpha inhibitors
  • very young or older than 70