salmomella

Ensuring Food Safety: New Salmonella Test Could Reduce Outbreaks

Researchers at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine have developed a new test that can be used to detect a certain strain of the salmonella bacteria in cattle. Salmonella bacteria can cause serious issues for cattle farms, with cows losing calves and milk becoming contaminated and causing human illness.

salmomellaThe newly developed test, which was announced in the Ithaca Journal, can be used to detect carriers of the Salmonella Dublin strain. These carriers show no outward signs of having the disease but can easily pass it on to calves and young cattle. The Dublin strain is particularly concerning for farmers because of its devastating effects on young cows. In addition, the disease can often appear as a respiratory infection. Even experienced veterinarians can be thrown off course, not considering salmonella initially.

The advantage of this test is that it can be used on milk product collected from a whole herd to determine if the any animal in the herd has been infected. Previously, veterinarians had to test each animal individually, which was both time consuming and expensive.

The salmonella bacteria can make cattle sick, just as in humans, with diarrhea, fevers and dehydration. The bacteria can be passed from cattle to humans via contaminated food or by having direct contact with an infected animal. Humans have been affected by Salmonella Dublin. There have been deaths attributed to the drinking of raw milk that was infected with Salmonella Dublin.

Thousands of Types of Salmonella Make Testing Difficult

There are more than 2,300 strains of salmonella known at this time. Two of the most common strains, Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium are the most common strains to cause outbreaks of infection in the United States. Salmonella Dublin has mostly been confined to western states but has recently made some breakthroughs to eastern states. The strain commonly lies dormant in carrier animals, which makes it difficult to control. The new Cornell test may help to prevent the spread of the bacteria any further.

The test uses an approach different from previous tests. Instead of testing for the bacteria, veterinarians can now test for the presence of the antibody. This allows for detection even in animals that appear healthy.

The strains differ in their effect. While some do not cause an animal to become sick, they may have an acute effect on humans. Other strains do not affect humans at all but make the animal sick.

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