Continuing research on Salmonella may enable researchers to identify and track strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria as they evolve and spread, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Tracing the transmission of individual strains from agricultural environments to humans through the food system is difficult because of the rapid evolution of resistance patterns in these bacteria. Resistance patterns change so quickly that, until now, it has been impossible to determine where some highly resistant strains are coming from.
Michael DiMarzio, a doctoral candidate in food science working under the direction of Edward Dudley, associate professor and Casida Development Professor of Food Science, developed a method for identifying and tracking strains of Salmonella enterica serological variant Typhimurium as they evolve and spread.
Every year in the United States, the various strains of Salmonella together are responsible for an estimated 1 million illnesses, 20,000 hospitalizations and 400 deaths at an economic cost exceeding $3 billion. Salmonella Typhimurium accounts for at least 15 percent of clinically reported salmonellosis infections in humans nationally. The number of antibiotic-resistant isolates identified in humans is increasing steadily, suggesting that the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains is a major threat to public health.
"Typhimurium infections have exhibited a gradual decline in susceptibility to traditional antibiotics, a trend that is concerning in light of this pathogen's broad host range and its potential to spread antibiotic resistance determinants to other bacteria," DiMarzio said. "Now more than ever, it is imperative to effectively monitor the transmission of Salmonella Typhimurium throughout the food system to implement effective control measures."
Building on recent research done in Dudley's lab, DiMarzio developed the new approach
|Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer|