Monday, December 10, 2012

New Study Sheds Light On How Salmonella Spreads in the Body

Salmonella enterica is a major threat to public health. The disease is known to cause systemic diseases, such as Typhoid Fever, and gastroenteritis in humans and other animal species. The disease is acquired through oral ingestion of contaminated water or food and through contact with a carrier. Scientists at Cambridge wanted to find out how diseases such as Salmonella grow at the single-cell level and spread throughout the body.

During the infection, salmoellae are found in cells in the immune system, where they thrive and continue to grow. The bacteria adapt to their surroundings and inhibit the immune system cell's natural antimicrobial activity. These scientists discovered that the bacteria must also leave already-infected cells to spread to distant sites in the body. This exodus is necessary to combat escalating efforts by the local immune system. Ultimately, these scientists discovered certain genes and gene regions that play pivotal roles in the bacteria's ability to spread throughout the body. Their findings provide valuable knowledge that could help change the way we treat diseases.

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