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Salmonella - a genus of bacteria - major cause of foodborne illness
Health

Salmonella - a genus of bacteria - major cause of foodborne illness

Kolkata, Dec 13: Salmonella is a genus of bacteria, which is a major cause of foodborne illness throughout the world. The bacteria are generally transmitted to humans through consumption of contaminated food of animal origin, mainly meat, poultry, eggs and milk.

The burden of foodborne diseases is substantial: every year almost 1 in 10 people fall ill and 33 million of healthy life years are lost. Food borne diseases can be severe, especially for young children.

Diarrhoeal diseases are the most common illnesses resulting from unsafe food, 550 million people falling ill each year, including 220 million children under the age of 5 years. Salmonella is 1 of the 4 key global causes of diarrhoeal diseases.

Salmonella is a gram negative rods genus belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family. Within 2 species, Salmonella bongori andSamonella enterica, over 2500 different serotypes or serovars have been identified to date. Salmonella is a ubiquitous and hardy bacteria that can survive several weeks in a dry environment and several months in water.

While all serotypes can cause disease in humans, a few are host-specific and can reside in only one or a few animal species: for example, Salmonella enterica serotype Dublin in cattle andSalmonella enterica serotype Choleraesuis in pigs.

When these particular serotypes cause disease in humans, it is often invasive and can be life-threatening.

Most serotypes, however, are present in a wide range of hosts. Typically, such serotypes cause gastroenteritis, which is often uncomplicated and does not need treatment, but disease can be severe in the young, the elderly, and patients with weakened immunity.

This group features Salmonella entericaserotype Enteritidis and Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium, the two most important serotypes of Salmonella transmitted from animals to humans in most parts of the world. (UNI)