Importance of Salmonella infantis at the present time
𝙎𝙖𝙡𝙢𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙖 𝙞𝙣𝙛𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙨 represents a significant challenge for both the food industry and public health. Although this bacterium may not cause serious disease in poultry, its presence and transmission to humans poses serious problems...
Currently, salmonellosis, one of the most important zoonotic diseases in public health, is produced by different strains of Salmonella spp. whose subspecies S. enterica has more than 1500 serotypes. In general terms, the presence of any type of Salmonella can be a significant problem for the food industry, but serotypes such as S. enterititis, S. typhimurium, S. Heidelberg and, especially in recent years, S. infantis, must be exhaustively controlled.
infantis is a problem present throughout the world, highlighting North and South America, North Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and despite the fact that it has different origins, its characteristics are very similar in these regions.
Problems associated with S. infantis in farms
Truly, the risk often does not lie in the severity of the pathology that S. infantis can generate in broiler chickens or turkeys, but it does cause problems in humans, especially in children, the elderly, or immunosuppressed people. It produces symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting in humans.
Transmission in birds and turkeys occurs mainly horizontally, through the movement of people and equipment or through transport cages to slaughterhouses, feed and contaminated buildings. However, transmission in humans is mainly due to cross-contamination of poultry meat in slaughter plants and subsequent consumption of contaminated food, especially raw or undercooked meat, raw eggs, or unpasteurized dairy products.
Broilers frequently carry this bacterium in their intestinal tract and, despite the fact that it does not cause clinical pathology in these birds, its importance is defined by the aforementioned cross-contaminations.
It is in this context, where the reduction of the intestinal microbial load of S. infantis becomes a key strategy to prevent cross-contamination in slaughter plants and, ultimately, guarantee food safety and human health. It is essential that poultry farmers implement effective measures and solutions that help control and minimize the risk associated with this bacterium in the poultry production chain.
Importance of specific identification of Salmonella infantis
The main point that must be considered when suspecting the presence of this bacterium is identification and characterization.
Since there is a great diversity of serotypes and the differences between them are enormous, from the point of view of adaptation and pathogenicity, it is essential to specifically identify the serotype that is predominant on the farm to diagnose and establish adequate control measures. While some serotypes are transient, others, such as S. infantis, have a high capacity to persist in the environment and adapt to birds and their environment by multiplying, creating large bacterial communities that persist in powerful cleaning and disinfection processes.
In addition, as previously mentioned, a serious associated problem that is related to the persistence of S. infantis for long periods of time is the presence of asymptomatic carriers that continue to excrete the bacteria into the environment, infecting more animals or the facilities.
Prevention and control of Salmonella infantis
The main preventive measure that poultry farmers should consider is the reduction or total elimination of the bacterial load of S. infantis through the correct implantation of the microbiota and intestinal function. On the other hand, hygiene plays a fundamental role in the prevention of contamination by Salmonella infantis. It is essential to implement adequate biosecurity measures, such as regular cleaning and disinfection of poultry facilities, vector control and proper waste management.
Subsequently, in relation to cross-contamination, it is essential that specific measures are implemented in slaughterhouses to avoid cross-contamination by S. infantis. Employee hygiene plays a fundamental role in this regard, as they must follow strict personal hygiene practices, such as proper hand washing and use of protective equipment, to prevent the spread of bacteria during the slaughter process. It is also important to ensure that the evisceration processes are carried out correctly, avoiding breakage of the intestinal package and contamination of the carcasses. This involves careful handling of the birds during the evisceration process, as well as the implementation of quality controls and proper supervision to ensure that established hygiene standards are met.
Finally, the need to inform consumers should not be forgotten, as they should pay attention to personal hygiene practices, such as hand washing before and after handling food, and proper handling of food at home. This includes the safe handling of raw or undercooked poultry, raw eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products.
In conclusion, Salmonella infantis represents a significant challenge for both the food industry and public health. Although this bacterium may not cause serious disease in poultry, its presence and transmission to humans poses serious problems. It is essential to implement effective prevention and control measures, both on farms and in slaughterhouses, to reduce the microbial load and prevent cross-contamination. The specific identification of S. infantis and its persistence in the environment highlight the importance of adopting management strategies adapted to this serotype. In addition, the importance of personal hygiene and safe food handling practices must be emphasized to ensure the safety of consumers. In general, addressing the problem of Salmonella infantis in the poultry production chain requires the collaboration of poultry farmers, the food industry, and consumers to safeguard human health and food quality.
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