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Pathogenic Salmonella

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The United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an estimate of approximately 80 million people a year contract food poisoning and other food borne diseases resulting from bacterial infection. In the recent years, there are a number of reported outbreaks of food borne bacterial infections caused by microbial contaminations. This has increased awareness and concerns by the public about the safety of the food consumed. Food borne illness causes temporary disorders to the digestive tract, but in some of the cases, it can cause serious consequences (Ballard, 2010). From the findings of the centre for disease control in Georgia Atlanta, they have classified around 250 food borne pathogens in number.  The crisis of the hitch is that the contamination of the food can occur at any point in the food web, from the farms to the processing industries. In addition, the United States departments of agriculture have estimated increase in the cost of medication, the loss of productivity and premature deaths arising from bacteria causing food poisoning. In addition, there is ineffective monitoring it has made it possible to underestimate the impacts of this problem (Sofos, 2010). Due to the increase of the bacteria with resistance to antibiotics food safety measures need to be taken to ascertain that the increase in the development of microorganisms resistant to antibiotic.

Common bacterial food borne infections

Tracking the trends of food borne infections since the year 1996, food borne disease and active surveillance network (Foodnet) has constantly conducted population-based surveillance revealed that infections that are transmitted through food are many. For instance, the transmission of infections resulting from cryptosporidium, cyclospora, salmonella, Escherichia coli, vibrio species and listeria species are among the common food pathogens. In a survey, carried out in the year 2011 by food net the results revealed that the common food borne diseases in the world are inclusive of the following bacterial pathogens;

i)Campylobacter. This is a bacterial pathogen which causes symptoms such as fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. This is the most commonly identified bacteria in the world known to cause diarrhoea.  Campylobacter live in the intestines of most of the birds, hence most of the raw poultry meat has campylobacter. Diarrhoea is due to consumption of undercooked chicken or other foods contaminated with juices dripping from undercooked chicken.

ii) Clostridium species. This is a group of spore forming gram-positive bacteria found in most of the environments. The most common environments where this bacterium is found are in the intestines of human and a number of animals. In this case, it is normally found in raw meat and in poultry.

iii) E.coli. This is a bacterium that can produce a deadly toxin, which can be fatal. The common sources of these bacteria are meat, especially the undercooked meat, raw hamburger, raw milk, unpasteurized apple juice and undercooked fruits and vegetables. The common symptoms of this its infection are diarrhoea, blood stained diarrhoea, abdominal pains, and nausea. This bacteria cause severe problems such as acute kidney failure.

Salmonella food poisoning

Salmonella is a group of bacteria, which has the possibility of causing diarrhoea in humans. They are microscopic in nature, which lives in the faeces of humans and animals. They can be infectious and even from animals to human. There are different kinds of salmonella bacteria. However, the most common types are the salmonella serotype typhirium and salmonella serotype Enteritidis. For over 100 years, the germs from salmonella species have been known to cause germs. The germs from salmonella have been named after the scientist who invented them named Salmon.

Salmonella is a bacterium causing infection known as salmonellosis. Most of the individuals infected with salmonellosis develop diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal pains close to a period of 12hours to 72 hours after infection. The illness resulting form this infection usually lasts for a period approximately one week. From the previous studies done before; most of patients infected with salmonella recover without any medication on their own (Montville & Matthews, 2005). However, in some extreme circumstances the patients may suffer severe diarrhoea that the patients need hospitalization. In these patients under the extreme cases, the salmonella infection may spread form the intestines to the blood stream which can be fatal unless the patients are treated with the use of antibiotics. In addition, most of the risk group likely to have a severe infection with salmonella includes the elderly, infants, and those victims with impaired immune system such as HIV and Aids patients.

Common foods associated with salmonella food poisoning.

Foods contaminated with animal and human faeces are the principal foods associated with salmonella infection. Since this bacterium lives in the intestinal tracts of animals, humans and birds, consumption of food contaminated with faeces causes the infection since these foods always smell normal. Most of the contaminated foods, however, are of animal origin. These foods include beef, poultry, milk, eggs. In addition, any food including vegetables can be contaminated with the juice from infected meat. Through cooking kills these bacteria. In addition, the hands of individuals who handle food carelessly, and do not wash their hands after visiting the lavatory (Toews, 2008) can also contaminate food.

In addition, salmonella maybe found in the faeces of some of the pets especially those pets with diarrhoea. People can become infected if they do not wash thoroughly their hands after handling the pets. In addition, most of the reptiles such as turtle’s snakes and lizards like harbouring salmonella. It is advisable that every person needs to wash their hands after handling reptiles or birds even if the animals seem healthy (Brands & Alcamo, 2006, p. 37).

Favourable environments and growth habits of salmonella

The majority of salmonella bacteria are grouped as mesophilic bacteria known to grow above 45 degrees with an optimum growth temperature of 37 degrees. These bacteria grow and multiply through the production of vegetative and un-stressful cells, sensitive to heat. Therefore, these cells can be easily destroyed through pasteurization. Salmonella does not grow well at low water activity. However, it has been found to proliferate easily in dry environments as well as other contaminated products such as poultry meat and fish. From the previous studies, salmonella has been found not to grow and proliferate well at P.H below 4.5. Most types of salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of animals and birds, and transmitted to humans through contamination of food with faeces, or through direct consumption of contaminated foods.  For instance of the faeces of chicken get on the outside of an egg. Since the year 2000, poultry has been known to be the common food source for salmonella (Lacroix, 2011). Eggs are the most obvious food source linked to Salmonella infections, such that the salmonella can be located inside of a perfectly normal appearing egg, which can be deceptive. If the eggs infected with salmonella, are eaten raw, or partially cooked can result in illness (Clark, 2001, p. 56).

Health effects associated with the pathogen

Salmonella manifests itself clinically as the enteric fever syndrome caused by typhoid or paratyphoid strains, or other non systemic dependent gastrointestinal infections which might progress to a more server systemic and fatal infection. Persons suffering from typhoid have sustained high fevers close to 39 to 40%u02DAC. The persons infected feels weak, have stomach pains, headache, watery stools, vomiting and eventual loss in appetite. In some of the cases, the patients have a rash of rose coloured spots (Sartory, 2003).  If there is systemic spread of the disease, can lead to cardiac and circulatory problems. Antibiotics such as Ampicillin are usually prescribed The Salmonella enteritidis has emerged to be one of the important causes of human illness. The number of outbreaks of this pathogen rose drastically in the 1980’s spreading to more states within the United States in the 1990’s.

Typhoid fever is one of the lives threatening illnesses associated with the bacterium salmonella typhi. Salmonella typhi lives only in humans. In this case, most of people with salmonella typhi carry the bacteria in their blood stream as well as in their intestinal tracts. A small number of people have been diagnosed as typhoid carriers, who recover from typhoid infection but can still transmit the bacteria. Both the carrier and patients with salmonella shed the bacteria in their faeces. If food is handled by an individual shedding typhoid or sewage, is contaminated with the typhoid causes infection. In this case, the infection with salmonella typhi is most prevalent in parts of the globe where hand washing is not a common practice. Once the salmonella gets into the body it multiplies and then finally spread to the blood stream. The body immune system reacts through symptoms such as fever and other symptoms such as diarrhoea (Ballard, 2010, p. 42).

Recent outbreaks and incidences

Salmonella is typically mesophilic bacteria, which have global distribution, with their main niche as the intestinal tracts of man and animals inclusive of birds. In the United States, about 400 cases are reported every year for infections with these bacteria (Brands & Alcamo, 2006). Most of the reported cases are usually acquired while travelling to international countries. In addition, typhoid is still a considerable illness in most of the developing countries. In these countries, it affects close to 21 million persons every year. Fever from typhoid can be controlled and treated with the use of antibiotics.

Environments such as water reservoirs, which are contaminated with human or animal excreta, can harbor these bacteria. For instance, shellfish found in contaminated water may accumulate these bacteria and the consumption of raw oyster has been prognosis as the major cause of salmonella outbreaks. For example in south East Asia where poultry manure are used as  fertilizers in fish ponds have been found to add salmonella contamination to the ponds. In warm climates such as Japan, salmonella could originate from the environment itself. For example in a study carried out in Japan revealed the detection of approximately a fifth of salmonella in the culture ponds.

Ways to prevent and control bacterial food borne infections.

The effective way for the prevention of the transmission of food borne illness such as typhoid is to handle properly cooked foods. This habit includes washing of hands, utensils, cooking meat cautiously, and thoroughly (WaModi, 2008). Washing is the best way for controlling food borne diseases as most of the germs are removed when washed. Cooking food thoroughly ensures that the high temperatures kill most of the bacteria especially salmonella that cannot withstand high temperatures. Majority of the bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of animals can be controlled by reducing the oxygen levels, as well as effective cooking of food as these bacteria, is easily killed by exposure to heat, inhibited by acids, salt and drying (Juneja & Sofos, 2010). In order to further control infection by salmonella, it is advisable to drink only pasteurized milk and avoid the cross contamination of cooked food by the utensils. Bacteria can be controlled by limiting the favourable conditions for the growth and their multiplication of the microorganism such as high moisture and low salt and low acid.

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