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Salmonella Cannot Be Killed By Powerful Disinfectants

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What is Salmonella

Salmonella is a type of Gram negative bacteria which are found in the environment and in the bodies of animals and humans. This rod-shaped organism is the cause of sufferings of numerous people around the world. This is because it has the tendency to cause gastroenteritis (infection and inflammation of the gut), typhoid fever and food poisoning.

Salmonella can be transferred from one human to another; it also can be transferred from animals to humans and from food. There are various types of Salmonella strains. The strains responsible for typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever and gastroenteritis are especially virulent, meaning that they can easily cause disease among us. The bacteria responsible for these diseases have a certain virulence factor complete with a capsule protein which serves as a virulence antigen; it can incite a cascade of reactions in the body, further leading to serious illness.

You can get infected by Salmonella if you ingest foods contaminated with it. Salmonella bacteria love to live in raw, undercooked and reheated food. Its favourite dwellings include eggs, beef, milk and poultry. What is interesting about salmonella is that they can survive for many weeks outside the human body. They are not even destroyed by freezing. They can only be destroyed by heat and ultraviolet radiation. Infection usually results from the consumption of food which is contaminated by the bacteria through processing or handling. Food may also become contaminated if it was being handled by a food handler who carries the bacteria and who does not practice good hygiene (e.g. who does not wash his hands after being in the bathroom, etc). Food may also be contaminated by pet feces that may have huge amounts of salmonella bacteria. Other animals which are likely to carry salmonella bacteria include chickens, ducks, rodents and reptiles.

Once ingested, the bacteria travel from the mouth to the stomach. Majority of the bacteria are destroyed by the gastric juices of the stomach, but they can be trapped within gastric mucus and gastric tissue; in this way they can cause damage to internal organs. This usually results when salmonella bacteria have been ingested in large numbers.

In normal people, there may be no symptoms. Symptoms are only found in immunocompromised people such as infants, children, those with HIV and those with cancers. In infants, infection through inhalation of salmonella-laden dust is possible. After a few hours, the bacteria multiply in the lumen of the intestines and cause inflammation, leading to symptoms of diarrhoea and stomach pain. Stools may contain pus or mucus. Continuous diarrhoea may lead to dehydration in infants and children, which when not corrected, can cause death. Salmonella bacteria may spread to other parts of the body and may cause infections such as meningitis, bone and joint infections and others.

Septic shock can ensue with salmonellosis. Salmonella can also cause hypovolemic shock as a result of too much dehydration. The bacteria contain a certain toxin that inhibits the immune system of the body thorough an enzymatic process. Through this invasive process, salmonella are able to invade living cells in the body, causing illness in a matter of hours.

Salmonella Can Be Highly Resistant To Disinfectants

A recent study has reported that salmonella is difficult to control once it has invaded a food processing facility, due to its ability to form biofilms. These researchers from National University of Ireland tried to kill salmonella bacteria in hard surfaces using three different kinds of disinfectant. They have found out that it was difficult to kill bacteria with these three disinfectants if the bacterial biofilm has already grown for seven days before treatment. They also found out that soaking these biofilms with these disinfectants failed to kill them. This is why the researchers have warned food processing plants to strictly guard against salmonella in their facilities and to make sure that their foods are properly prepared and packaged.

You can learn more about how to keep yourself safe from diseases by browsing other articles on this site.