Monday, September 25, 2023

Remaining vigilant in the fight against salmonella infections

By Elizabeth Bobenhausen Poultry Times staff

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GAINESVILLE, Ga. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines salmonella as a “group of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever called salmonellosis.” According to their website, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that the bacteria can be detected in several types of food such as vegetables like sprouts, eggs, chicken, pork and fruits. It can also be detected in processed foods, for example, nut butters, frozen pot pies, chicken nuggets and stuffed chicken meals.

The FDA adds the bacteria can be transmitted from food managers who do not clean their hands when preparing food. If the preparation tools to prepare the food are not properly sanitized, people could contract salmonella from dirty materials. Also, someone could contract the illness if they eat undercooked or raw foods. Usually there will be no change to the smell or taste of the food that is contaminated.

The FDA lays out symptoms of an infection which include “diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.” In some cases, more severe symptoms include “high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool.” Symptoms start 12 to 72 hours after the incubation of the illness.

According to the FDA, the infection can last four to seven days, and most people do not require treatment for the infection. Salmonella is not usually fatal, however, the CDC states that 450 Americans die of acute salmonella poisonings every year.

The CDC and the FDA agree that people that have compromised immune systems, children younger than the age of five or older adults could get a more severe case of salmonella.

The CDC warns that salmonella is more common in the summertime because the warm weather could enhance the growth of the bacteria in certain foods. It is important to refrigerate any foods that might spoil rapidly, prepared foods and leftovers. Leftovers should only be left out for approximately two hours. If the temperature outside is greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the leftovers should only remain outside for one hour.

The CDC says that salmonella can be transmitted from people to people and animals to people. Animals can carry salmonella bacteria on them. The CDC recommends that a person wash their hands after touching “their pet, another animal, food, water, fecal matter, toys, bowls or habitats.” It is important for a person not to put their fingers or hands in their mouth after they have been playing with or petting their animals. Additionally, keep all items that have been around a pet out of a person’s mouth. A person must not kiss their pets or animals. People who have compromised immune systems, children under the age of five or older adults should not touch high-risk animals such as turtles, frogs, chickens or ducks. Do not consume any food or drinks around high-risk animals or their habitats.

A person should always cleanse their pets’ beds, cages, terrariums or aquariums and other products outdoors. If someone cleans their pets’ items inside, use a bathtub or sink because they can be disinfected. Do not use the kitchen sink. The CDC says that most people who contract salmonella do not see a doctor to have laboratory tests done to see what germ made them sick. For every one person who sees a doctor and has a laboratory test, there are 30 people who have unreported infections of salmonella.

PathogenDx is located in Scottsdale, Ariz. They note that their mission is “to become the new standard in nucleic acid-based testing through widespread adoption of its advanced microarray testing platform for the human diagnostics, food and agricultural industries.”

PathogenDx recently announced its new rapid, single test for salmonella. The test is called SeroX. It can detect salmonella and 13 other serotypes. The 13 serotypes that the test detects are Enteritidis, Typhimurium, Newport, Javiana, Monophasic Typhimurium, Heidelberg, Muenchen, Saintpaul, Montevideo, Infantis, Braenderup, Oranienberg and Thompson.

“Salmonella outbreaks are a huge issue facing poultry producers, particularly when you look at the astronomical risk and costs associated with an outbreak,” Milan Patel, PathogenDx co-founder and CEO, said. “For every confirmed case of salmonella, another 30 go undetected. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year one in six Americans or 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. To make matters worse, food contaminated with salmonella usually looks, tastes and smells normal. That’s why next-gen tests like SeroX are critical to preventing infection and minimizing this threat to public health in the U.S.”

Patel added that, “with SeroX there is no need for qPCR, NGS testing or both. SeroX delivers advanced gene detection of Salmonella and 13 serotypes from primary enrichment, and ensures an easier, simplified workflow and cost savings that poultry producers require to optimize production and food safety. SeroX results are also ready in a single-shift and deliver the lowest cost per sample when compared to sequence and antisera based serotyping methods.”

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