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The only way to stop poultry from transmitting salmonella infection to humans is through salmonella vaccines. Presently, there are 2 kinds of salmonella vaccines available for commercial poultry farmers. They are live salmonella vaccine and inactivated salmonella vaccine. (See Reference 1) So, if you are wondering whether there is live salmonella vaccine available, the answer is yes. However, the pros and cons of both kinds of vaccines should be weighed before deciding.
The live salmonella vaccines used to vaccinate poultry consist of live attenuated bacteria. These vaccines offer protection against either Salmonella enteritidis or Salmonella typhimurium. (See Reference 1) The vaccine is given to the birds orally by mixing it into their drinking water. This mode of administration of the vaccine makes it very easy to ensure that the birds get it. (See Reference 1) This is especially useful for commercial poultry farmers who hold the birds in layered cages and have to comply with the health rules enforced by the government. In the EU, there is a duty imposed to produce meats and eggs that are safe for consumption and hence, mandatory vaccination against both types of salmonella bacteria is required. (See Reference 1)
The live vaccines help to form immunity against the bacteria in the intestinal tract of the birds. This ensures that the birds do no pass out as many bacteria as before with their feces. Another added advantage of the vaccines is that it prevents other animals from getting infected by the bacteria as the number of salmonella reduces in the surrounding environment. (See Reference 1) However, it is important to note that the immunity is restricted just to bird and is not passed on to its offsprings. Hence, the offsprings too need to be vaccinated to prevent them from getting the infection.
The salmonella bacteria have the ability to infect humans, birds, reptiles and any other warm or cold blooded animal. There are more than 2,500 kinds of salmonella bacteria, which have been grouped in 5 groups, namely A, B, C, D and E. (See Reference 1) The serotypes B and D are the ones that infect poultry and contain Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium respectively. (See Reference 1) These are the 2 salmonella bacteria that are responsible for most of the food poisoning cases seen among humans.
Today, a lot of advancement has been made in the field of bacteriology. Earlier, vaccination against Salmonella enteritidis was only possible from vaccines derived from the same serotype. However, now live attenuated form of Salmonella gallinarum, which belongs to the D group of salmonella, can be used to protect the poultry from other serotypes in the group. So, using this live salmonella vaccine, poultry can be protected effectively against Salmonella enteritidis. (See Reference 1)
There are many kinds of live salmonella vaccines available for commercial poultry farmers. However, before selecting a vaccine, the farmer should decide against what kind of bacteria the flock needs to be protected. If the protection is required just for Salmonella enteritidis, then the farmer needs to decide whether the vaccine should contain just this bacterium, or should he use vaccine containing a bacterium from the same group. (See Reference 1) Once the poultry farmer has answered these questions, the choice of vaccine will become easier.
While salmonella is a still a cause for concern, the number of cases among poultry has reduced in the US in the last few years. (See Reference 1) Based on reports, the number of cases of Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium has gradually been decreasing among all the kinds of poultry. However, although the poultry across the US is showing fewer incidences of salmonella infection, there are still people who get food poisoning on consuming eggs and poultry meat; some even succumb to it. (See Reference 1) Hence, salmonella is still a major concern for commercial poultry farmers, and live salmonella vaccine can reduce the incidences of infection among the flock.
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