The lower gastrointestinal tract is densely populated with resident microbial communities (microbiota), which do not elicit overt host responses but rather provide benefit to the host, including niche protection from pathogens. However, introduction of bacteria into the underlying tissue evokes acute inflammation. Non-typhoidal Salmonella serotypes (NTS) elicit this stereotypic host response by actively penetrating the intestinal epithelium and surviving in tissue macrophages. Initial responses generated by bacterial host cell interaction are amplified in tissue through the interleukin (IL)-18/interferon-gamma and IL-23/IL-17 axes, resulting in the activation of mucosal barrier functions against NTS dissemination. However, the pathogen is adapted to survive antimicrobial defenses encountered in the lumen of the inflamed intestine. This strategy enables NTS to exploit inflammation to outcompete the intestinal microbiota, and promotes the Salmonella transmission by the fecal/oral route.