Food Safety Scotland

Salmonella Safety. Food Poisoning May Permanently Damage The DNA

Salmonella Safety Warning

People infected with salmonella often suffer from fever, diarrhoea, and severe abdominal pain between 12 and 72 hours after infection. The illness can last between four and seven days and most people recover even without getting medical treatment.

Findings of a new study conducted by food scientists from Cornell University, however, showed that some serotypes, or variations of salmonella species, may have permanent unwanted effects such that they can cause damage to the DNA.

For the new study, which was published in the journal mBio in December 2016, Cornell University researchers Rachel Miller and Martin Wiedmann looked at several serotypes of salmonella that encode for cytolethal distending toxin (S-CDT), a virulence component for the serotype responsible for typhoid fever.

The researchers found that four salmonella serotypes that commonly cause foodborne illness also carry the genetic material that encodes S-CDT. Although there are more than 2,500 salmonella serotypes, fewer than 100 are responsible for most of the foodborne illnesses.

With the aid of human cells grown in the laboratory, the researchers also found that the salmonella strains with S-CDT cause hallmark signatures that hint of DNA damage. The researchers explained that this ability to cause DNA damage may result in long-term health consequences.

“The more you expose your body’s cells to DNA damage, the more DNA damage that needs to be repaired, and there may one day be a chance that the DNA damage is not correctly repaired. We don’t really know right now the true permanent damage from these salmonella infections,” Miller said.

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Salmonella Bacteria