• UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Carter makes his return, @UCSB_Baseball edges Pepperdine to win 30th game of '16. RECAP >>> https://t.co/T7hqzVP5eM https://t.co/izazQZyNs5
    6 hours 26 min ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    Holocaust survivor Eva Kor to talk about surviving & forgiving the Angel of Death at Auschwitz on May 5th at #UCSB. https://t.co/5KMwhu8Fm8
    6 hours 29 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Bauman Climbs Into Top Individual Spot, Gauchos Drop to Third at Big West Tournament https://t.co/qLqS9JsBcL
    8 hours 59 min ago
  • UCSB_GradPost twitter avatar
    Writing effective cover letters for non-academic jobs https://t.co/GOEZWMJDAb #UCSB #ucsbgradpost
    9 hours 7 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    UCSB Basketball Adds Ohio State Transfer Mickey Mitchell https://t.co/PBLD50TWdm
    9 hours 34 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    @ucsbtennis will head down to USC to play Georgia Tech! #SelectionTuesday https://t.co/UbzG82vxFL
    9 hours 58 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    Discover Vivian Maier, a mysterious nanny who secretly took more than 100,000 photographs: https://t.co/xXrGiRRNWk https://t.co/rieD9kk2gO
    10 hours 24 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    @UCSBWTennis will open the NCAA Tourney w/ Kansas! #GoGauchos #SelectionTuesday https://t.co/jFHDMWA9Ql
    10 hours 50 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Cullen Irons of UCSB MVB has been named @AVCAVolleyball Asst. Coach of the Year. Congrats C! https://t.co/yZrAVbtcMX https://t.co/novXnIXr7T
    11 hours 15 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    It's Selection Tuesday for our tennis teams! Women's bracket will be announced at 2 & the men's will be at 2:30 https://t.co/AY9iq60xwg
    11 hours 37 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    Curious about Santa Barbara's economic forecast? Santa Barbara County Economic Summit --> https://t.co/aefNyNmlZ1 https://t.co/RdZunTStr4
    12 hours 35 min ago
  • UCSB_GradPost twitter avatar
    View the 2016 UC Grad Slam presentations online https://t.co/5Jxul7yOyb #UCSB #ucsbgradpost
    12 hours 44 min ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    What drives genetic diversity in Hawaiian coral reefs? UCSB marine biologist investigates: https://t.co/X1cz0DVl4K https://t.co/2Sa6eBPxXw
    15 hours 14 min ago

UCSB Researchers Discover Particularly Dangerous Salmonella

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 17:00
Santa Barbara, CA

UC Santa Barbara researchers have discovered Salmonella bacteria that are up to 100 times more capable of causing disease. Their findings may help prevent food poisoning outbreaks that continue to plague public health and the food industry.

These "hypervirulent" bugs can override vaccines and pose a risk to food safety –– and mitigation efforts are currently under way.

Previous strategies to find the more dangerous bugs were unsuccessful since they behave like a "Trojan Horse"— exposing their weapons only when causing disease — but looking much like their less-virulent cousins in the environment.

Now that scientists know what to look for, they are developing methods to discriminate them from their less-virulent cousins. The researchers have been successful in forcing the bacteria to reveal their weapons in the laboratory –– the first step in combating them.

Salmonella, found virtually everywhere, is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the United States. According to the researchers, the emergence of more powerful strains could eventually overtax the current public health system, which regularly deals with outbreaks from tainted food. Currently, the system is coping with an outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people in 20 states.

Humans usually get Salmonella food poisoning from eating contaminated beef, chicken, eggs, fruits, or vegetables. The threat is exacerbated when these foods are not cooked. And Salmonella control efforts are expensive: Recent estimates place this cost at up to $14.6 billion annually in the U.S.

"Now that we have identified the problem –– and potential solutions –– we just need to get to work," said Douglas Heithoff, lead author of the paper.

The research, "Intraspecies Variation in the Emergence of Hyperinfectious Bacterial Strains in Nature," is published in this week's edition of the journal PLoS Pathogens.

This study was launched with support from The G. Harold & Leila Y. Mathers Foundation, which then leveraged additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Army, and Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Research Program.

To read the paper, visit: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1002647

 

 


 

 

[RETURN TO TOP]  

 

 

Top image: Salmonella typhimurium (red) invades cultured human cells in this color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph.
Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

 

 

†† Bottom image: Researchers Michael Mahan, left, and Douglas Heithoff have devised methods to detect and discriminate more harmful forms of Salmonella bacteria.
Credit: Sonia Fernandez

 

Michael J. Mahan
KCLU interview