It's nasty and can be spread by contact as well. Not just poo water so to speak. (In school, it seemed that almost everything really really nasty that was an enterobacter (sp*) was thanks to poo water contact.
The problem with salmonella is that every horse carries it, just like us people. So they will test positive, and really the worst thing is they can't do a thing about it asides support as someone else already noted.
If a horse gets the infectious type of it, it's almost a death sentence. At UF vet school, where a friend of mine works, she gets a few in every once in awhile- and it's a few days/weeks of heck.
It's an almost 3% survival rate in certain types of disease that they believe can be considered salmonella. Often it's just classified as contagious diarrhea- and who ever mentioned the smell was dead on btw-
It's utterly disgusting, but the worst part is the recovery after. It takes a Long time for the horses guts to get normal again, and often only with Very costly meds.
I am really sorry for the gal who has the sick filly, but the Can and will pull through, it's just very very very tedious and heart wrenching.