Against a backdrop of another multi-state Salmonella outbreak, researchers at UCSB have released a paper on a study of “hypervirulent” strains of the bacteria. According to an online report:
UC Santa Barbara researchers Michael Mahan and Douglas Heithoff a means to potentially prevent food poisoning outbreaks from these particularly powerful strains. Their findings, in a paper titled “Intraspecies Variation in the Emergence of Hyperinfectious Bacterial Strains in Nature,” have been published in the journal PLoS Pathogens.
The article explained what was meant by the term “hypervirulent” Salmonella:
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.
Researchers hope that advances in identifying these more dangerous strains will increase the ability to combat and remove the strains from livestock and the food supply.