A study by UC Santa Barbara researchers have revealed the discovery of a "hypervirulent" Salmonella strain that may help prevent food poisoning outbreaks.
is the most common cause of infection, hospitalization, and death due to foodborne illness in the U.S. This burden may continue to worsen due to the emergence of new strains that would tax current health-control efforts. To address this problem, researchers sought out -- and found -- hypervirulent strains that present a potential risk to food safety and the livestock industry.
An international team of scientists -- which also included Robert Sinsheimer and William Shimp from UCSB; Yi Xie and Bart Weimer from UC Davis; and John House from University of Sydney, Australia -- conducted a global search for hypervirulent Salmonella
strains. They were found among isolates derived from livestock, and rendered current vaccines obsolete.
Bacteria behave like a Trojan Horse, exposing their weapons only after initiating infection. "These strains exhibit this behavior in the extreme -- essentially having a '5th gear' they can switch to during infection," said Heithoff, lead author of the paper.