The nationwide egg recall across the United States has once again brought the fear of salmonella-led stomach ailments. The FDA has recalled more than 400 million eggs and also set up an emergency command center for extensive investigation into the latest outbreak of diseases caused by Salmonella Enteritis.

The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that the latest outbreak is already three times more widespread than the illness seen during summer months last year. The bacteria thrive in the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. We provide with a ready check-list on how to protect you against the diseases caused by the bacteria:

1) The symptoms of salmonellosis include abdominal cramps, fever and diarrhea that develps between 12 to 72 hours after the infection. While most people recover within four to seven days, some may require intravenous rehydration. Doctors do not prescribe antibiotics unless the infection spreads beyond the intestines.

2) Potentially fatal cases are most likely among young children, old and frail people or patients who have their immune systems weakened due to some other illness.

3) Any raw food of animal origin like meat, milk, dairy products, eggs, poultry and seafood can contain the salmonella bacteria. Avoid eating raw or under cooked meat and unpasteurized dairy products. Avoid mayonnaise, cookie dough and ice cream.

4) The easiest way to kill the bacteria is through a thorough cooking. And avoid eating foods that health officials have warned about. It is better to completely take such food items off our menus even if they are properly cooked.

5) On its part, the FDA has suggested steps like (a) washing hands with soap and water after handling food items; (b) washing dairy, meat etc. in running water and (c) using a clean cutting board and utensils for cooking.

6) Be aware that pets too can carry the virus so it is important to ensure limited contact with the feces of the pets during such an outbreak.