University of California, Santa Barbara, researchers have determined that human strains of Salmonella are different from those associated with animal sources.

In all, there are more than 2,300 strains of Salmonella. While antibody-based classification of these strains has been useful epidemiologically, it provides limited information concerning bacterial diversity, evolutionary relatedness and disease-causing potential, the researchers note. They acknowledge that many of these strains are becoming resistant to powerful antibiotics.

The research, funded by USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service's National Research Initiative, tested the virulence in mice of 184 human and animal Salmonella strains. The research findings suggest that human-derived Salmonella isolates are distinct from those of animal origin as relates to virulence. The researchers believe that characterization of these bacterial strain variants may provide insight into the relative disease-causing ability of Salmonella, as well as developing treatment and prophylactic strategies for salmonellosis.

This project brings scientists one step closer to developing a promising live Salmonella vaccine. Such a vaccine would provide a protective immune response across the animal/human realm, resulting in improved animal well-being, a safer food supply and increased public health.

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