Preventing salmonellosis at home

Image by Juliana from Pixabay

Salmonellosis is a disease shared by animals and humans, and several outbreaks of salmonellosis in Washington cattle have lead to human illness.

People in direct contact with cattle are not the only ones who can become sick. Indirect contact with cattle can occur when someone handles products like unpasteurized milk or touches boots contaminated with manure. Boots and clothing can brush carpets and furniture to contaminate them.

Young children, sick, or elderly people, and immunocompromised individuals are the most vulnerable to infection with salmonella. Special care must be taken to avoid contamination of households in which high-risk individuals reside.

The following are some guidelines to follow to prevent a salmonellosis outbreak in the home setting.

Reduce the risk of transmission to humans

People in direct contact with cattle: Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds prior to preparing food or eating. This includes snacks. Avoid putting things, such as ballpoint pens, in mouth.

To minimize risk of indirect transmission:

  • Do not consume unpasteurized milk or products containing it, such as quesa fresca.
  • During the course of a salmonellosis outbreak in a livestock herd, and until the herd tests negative, children under 5 should not be allowed on the farm. Symptoms and risks of foodborne illness
  • Provide an area outside the main living quarters of the home where those who work on the farm can change clothes and shoes. This area should not be carpeted and should be cleaned at least weekly with an appropriate disinfectant. If the changing area contains a rug or doormat, it should be of a form that can be put through the washing machine with an appropriate disinfectant.
  • Prior to entering the living quarters, manure contaminated clothes and shoes should be removed, after which hands should be washed with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Household floors (vinyl, wood, etc.) should be cleaned and sanitized with an appropriate disinfectant at least once weekly.
  • Carpeted areas should be vacuumed at least once weekly.

Monitor for salmonella in the home

If high-risk persons live in the home, the following environmental samples can be tested by a laboratory:

  • Vacuum cleaner bags (containing debris) can be tested to determine if carpets are contaminated with salmonella.
  • Broom with disposable electrostatic cloth can be used to sample vinyl or wood floors.


In our laboratory, we use LpH or Environ. These can cause skin irritation. Bleach mixed according to container directions will work but will cause wear on boots and flooring materials and may be inactivated by organic material.