Role of antibiotic therapy on long-term germ excretion in faeces and digestive symptoms after Salmonella infection

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2000 Sep;14(9):1127-31. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2000.00818.x.


Background: The role of antibiotic therapy on Salmonella faecal excretion is controversial. Acute Salmonella gastroenteritis induces long-lasting digestive symptoms in up to one-third of subjects. The role of antimicrobial therapy on persistent post-infectious symptoms is unknown.

Aim: To investigate the role of antibiotic therapy on long-term germ faecal excretion and digestive symptoms after Salmonella infection.

Subjects and methods: 1543 subjects [518 aged between 3 and 5 years (35.3%); 950 between 6 and 10 years (64.7%) and 75 adults (4.9%)] involved in a single outbreak of Salmonella enteritis fulfilled the study criteria by repeating stool cultures and answering a symptom questionnaire 3 months post-infection.

Results: 327 subjects (21.2%) were treated with antibiotics during the acute infection [121 children aged 3-5 years (23.4%), 175 children aged 6-10 years (18.4%) and 31 adults (41.3%)]. Antibiotic treatment did not affect Salmonella excretion at any of the time points studied up to three months post-infection in any age group as compared to age-matched untreated controls. Persistent digestive symptoms were more common among the patients treated with antibiotics (9.5% vs. 2.9%; P=0.003).

Conclusions: Antibiotic therapy does not affect Salmonella enteritis excretion. Digestive symptoms after clearance of the infectious agent are significantly higher in patients treated with antibiotics during acute gastroenteritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gastroenteritis / drug therapy
  • Gastroenteritis / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Salmonella Food Poisoning / drug therapy*
  • Salmonella Food Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Salmonella enteritidis / drug effects
  • Salmonella enteritidis / isolation & purification*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents