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Salmonella; Detecting its tricks

Salmonella is another tool in the terrorists’ toolbox to inflict mass casualties or at least mass illness to anyone they harbor ill feelings towards. This is an inexpensive and easily manipulated bacterium, making it convenient for even the most inept perpetrator.

On a more common basis, this contamination is the second 2nd, leading cause of global food-borne illness. The salmonella family includes over 2,300 different serotypes of bacteria. The good news is only two {2} strains are primarily responsible for ½ of all human infection. Salmonella enreritidis and salmonella typhimurium are the usual suspects and culprits. Most outbreaks are food related accidents, traced back to chicken, dairy, and meat products for consumption. These are not on a watch list alone, due to the fact that salmonella can grow on any food. Chicken, eggs, and all their derivatives pose a high risk of infection. Controlling salmonella outbreaks are critical for food inspectors, restaurants, and the food industry in general. Just as quick recognition of salmonella outbreak is to hazardous materials responders.

By whatever means, an outbreak of salmonella is an “outbreak”. Hazardous materials responders must know the early warning signs of this bacterium so that they can begin their confinement activities. Early identification, treatment of the affected, isolation of the scene, confinement of the scene, notification to the CDC {Center for Disease Control} is the general order for mitigation. Salmonella has an incubation period between several hours and two days to reach full affect on a persons’ system. Dehydration from these affects can be fatal and is therefore a large risk factor. Symptoms seen can be nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains, and blood in the stool. These signs and symptoms can last four to seven days but it may take months for your bowels to return to normal. A few varieties of this disease can result in typhoid fever which is more lethal, but this is usually only found in developing countries. The treatment and care for victims is surprisingly treatment of the symptoms by natural methods. Hydration in small amounts is important, along with rest and proper electrolyte replacement plays a huge role in rehabilitation of the patient. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic endorse maintaining of your normal diet for the quickest possible results. They also confirm removing fats, sugars; spices, alcohol, and coffee for two days after the symptoms are gone to achieve the best results. Clearly one can envision the battlefield effectiveness of weapons such as these. Easily large volumes of troops could be made so miserable that they would be unable to fight. The additional medical support they would need could drain manpower and supplies beyond existing limits.    

Isolation of the scene by Haz-Mat personnel is not limited to closing the site alone. Immediately, even before confirmation the Haz Mat Team should begin the detective contamination investigation. Contact the site authorities and have them begin contacting all companies that shipped food to their facility within the last week. Have them notify these food shippers of the situation so that remaining food stocks in their control can be tested for this deadly bacterium. Also, have them notify these shippers that law enforcement and CDC investigations will involve their Company. Make sure that this list of food shippers not only gets into the hands of law enforcement, but also on your Hazardous Materials Incident Report. This information may help health officials’ investigation, as it progresses. Phone, address, and contact person responsible are most helpful.

Confinement of the hazardous site will pertain to the immediate contaminated area. Here, the Hazardous Materials Team shall be responsible for locking down the alleged contaminated area and securing it for CDC investigative elements. While awaiting arrival, phone communication can offer the CDC any initial analysis that your team is capable of deploying. Any Bio-Assay tests or detection devices can be offered for implementation at the direction of the CDC or immediate health authorities. This will help their investigation and demonstrate the effectiveness of your Haz Mat Unit.

After initial CDC notification, your local Health Department should also be called. Many times they are the hands and feet of the CDC. Contacting them quickly during the beginning of an incident will also aid in preserving the scene evidence properly.

Salmonella has the “ability” and tools to invade the metabolism of host cells. Researchers have detected a bacterial sorting platform called “bacterial III protein secretion system” that organizes the necessary proteins. The key role of this cytoplasmic platform is to arrange the secretion of these proteins in a specific order, allowing them to gain control of the hosts’ cells function. This platform utilizes custom “chaperones” to organize the type III protein secretion and subsequent takeover of the infected cell. It accomplishes this through buildup of an actual “needle” complex through which the effector proteins can be injected into the host cell. This new finding may very well lead to new, more “novel”, anti-microbiology treatment strategies.

If you are intrigued and wish to increase your teams’ ability to deal with these hazards, contact the folks at “”. Their innovative technology has developed a line of chromogenic media products which make identification more reliable and faster as these detect a characteristic enzyme of Salmonella. By increasing your ability to quickly identify this hazard, you will maximize the “Salmonella” Hazardous Material Response.

                                               Haz Mat Mike                      

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