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Researchers find a way to detect “hypervirulent” Salmonella strains

A recent discovery of "hypervirulent" Salmonella bacteria has given University of California, 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.

Salmonella 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.
 
 

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