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Salmonella bacteria are extremely viral pathogens that have the ability to be fatal. Every year, around tens of millions of people all over the world get infected, and out of these 1 million people succumb to the salmonella infection. Generally, the symptoms occur within 72 hours of ingesting the contaminated food or water.
Majority of people get salmonella infection by consuming raw or undercooked food that is contaminated with the bacteria. When using raw beef, raw ground beef and raw eggs, the person should follow hygienic handling and preparation methods to reduce the risk of salmonella infection. Also, when traveling abroad to countries with poor sanitation, raw fruits and vegetables should be avoided. Salmonella infection in developing countries can result in typhoid fever. (See Reference 1) Household pets, such as birds and reptiles, are carriers of salmonella bacteria and can transmit the infection to household members. (See Reference 1)
The most common symptoms of salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, fever and headache. However, when the infection is severe, the person will also suffer from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. (See Reference 1) However, if a person has high amounts of acid in the stomach, he or she will be less prone to salmonella infection. As per Mayo Clinic, stomach acid helps to kill the bacteria in intestinal tract. On the other hand, people suffering from IBD or those who take antacids for GERD will be more prone to the infection. (See Reference 1) Even people who have recently had an organ transplant, those suffering from sickle cell anemia, AIDS and malaria, or those undergoing chemotherapy are more likely to get salmonella infection on ingestion of contaminated foods and water. (See Reference 1)
In the last 20 years, bacteriologists have done a lot of research on the salmonella bacteria. They have found that the bacteria secrete a network of inter-linked virulence factors to manipulate the host. Till now researchers have been able to identify over 40 virulence factors salmonella, but they have been able to figure out the functions and the mammalian targets of just a few. But researchers do know that the virulence factors of salmonella tend to get directed to certain sub-cellular parts as well as certain mammals; and when this happens, a whole range of activities occur at the cellular level. (See Reference 2) However, since researchers do not know all the virulence factors, they are still continuing their research. According to computer analysis, there could be 300 more virulence factors in the salmonella bacteria.
Many of the factors are made up of small proteins that contain just 30 to 100 amino acids. This has proven to the bacteriologists that these proteins are not enzymes. They may possible be antagonists or agonists of specific factors within the hosts, namely mammals, birds, and reptiles. (See Reference 2) It could be years before bacteriologists and researchers are able to find out all the virulence factors of salmonella.
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2. Horizon Press: Salmonella Virulence Factors