Reason for Salmonella rise possibly due to altered DNA
There has been a considerable increase in the number of
Salmonella serovar Typhimurium DT104 infections over the past 10 years.
This type of Salmonella
is resistant to at least five different antibiotics, is transmitted via food and
is considered to be dangerous for humans.. By comparing the DNA of Salmonella
serovar Typhimurium DT104 with the known DNA code of another Salmonella strain,
Dutch researcher Armand Hermans found new DNA fragments in DT104. These pieces
of DNA were found to contain genetic information that might play a role in the
survival and infectiousness of this pathogen. The presence of such extra genetic
characteristics can make the pathogen stronger and more infectious.
The DNA of the pathogen says something about how it survives and is
transmitted. When a pathogen reproduces, the DNA can change a bit and this can
lead to changes in the genetic characteristics. This can, for example, lead to
antibiotic resistance but also heat or acid resistance. The pathogens with the
best genetic characteristics can spread and survive better and are therefore
more infectious: the evolution of a pathogen.
Examining which genetic characteristics are present in an infectious
Salmonella (in this case the DT104 type) can reveal how this pathogen has become
stronger and caused more outbreaks. This information can also be used to make a
less dangerous variant of this infectious Salmonella. Such a harmless variant
can be used as a vaccine.
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