Bacteriophage Implicated in the spread of a new strain of Salmonella.

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

Bacteriophage Toxin gene sopE responsible for the spread of Salmonella Typhimurium in Pigs.

Microbial Scientists have discovered a new strain of Salmonella spread by a bacterial virus.

Food borne infections often implicate Salmonella, half of these cases have been linked to pigs. Salmonella ST34 is dominant in these animals and has spread on a global scale

For more than half a Century, new strains of Salmonella have emerged repeatedly, ST34 accounts for a quarter of all Salmonella infections

In countries like the UK, more than half of all Salmonella Typhimurium infections are now caused by ST34 strain, its emergence has resulted in proportional rise in Salmonella infections.

Management of Salmonella Typhimurium has proven very difficult and challenging. Knowledge of new strain emergence and indicators of distinctiveness from previous strains is an important leap in determination of ways for management of Typhimurium.

Viruses hold the highest record for causing some of the most debilitating infections in history, SARS-CoV-2 is no exception, viruses require cells to replicate their genetic material and cause disease.

Certain viruses called bacteriophages, replicate using bacteria as host cells, terminate the bacteria eventually, even after incorporating into the bacteria’s genetic material. Researchers are convinced that, this perhaps occurred 100 times over to produce ST34.

Research has revealed that ST34 was infected by a virus mTmV. Analysis of the population structure of ST34 showed that Salmonella infected by mTmV experienced population explosion and acquired competitive advantage over other species lacking the virus. Further research showed that the virus possesses a gene called sopE encoding a virulent toxin.

It is hoped that by understanding, how and why new Salmonella strains develop in livestock, improvements can be made on strategies to curb incidence of outbreaks.

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