Cracking the Code

Coding Salmonella

Salmonella is a family of bacteria with many subsets. Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through stool (feces). Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food.

CDC estimates Salmonella bacteria cause about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States every year. Food is the source of most of these illnesses.

For coding purposes, Salmonella is in the ICD-10-CM alphabetic index under ‘Infection, Salmonella.’ Here we see selections for paratyphoid fever. Paratyphoid fever is a disease caused by the bacteria Salmonella Paratyphi. As you continue through the index for Salmonella we see code selections for salmonella sepsis, salmonella pneumonia, salmonella arthritis, and salmonella osteomyelitis to name a few. You will also see a parent code note for salmonella, A02 stating, “infection or foodborne intoxication due to any Salmonella species other than S. typhi and S. paratyphi.”

The availability of salmonella code selection allows us to code by specificity per the documentation.

Q: What is the ICD-10-CM code selection for salmonella pyelonephritis?
A: A02.25 Rationale: You can find this code in 2 ways. The first way is by using the ICD-10-CM Alphabetic Index under Infection, Salmonella, verifying the specificity in the Tabular under Salmonella pyelonephritis to A02.25. The second way (and more direct) is to use the Alphabetic Index and look under Pyelonephritis, in (due to), Salmonella Infection. As always, we want to verify code selection in the Tabular List.
Reference: FY 2023 ICD-10-CM code book
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