SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Researchers uncover evasive maneuvers of Salmonella

Researchers uncovered how the bacterial pathogen Salmonella evades the human immune system to cause typhoid fever, according to a study recently published in Cell Host & Microbe.

Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel in Switzerland found that Salmonella cells are able to escape from the immune system, which attempts to enclose the infection in abscesses. Once the bacteria escape from an abscess, the immune system is unable to produce an effective response.

"Salmonella have developed a range of defense strategies to resist macrophage attacks," Neil Burton, one of the two first authors for the study, said. "Many Salmonella are thus able to survive and even to replicate in macrophages."

The researchers describe the typhoid fever disease process as a race between Salmonella bacteria and the immune system of the infected organism. The life-threatening infection occurs in countries with poor hygiene and infects more than 20 million individuals annually. The illness occurs when an individual eats food or drinks water contaminated with the bacterium.

According to the research team, understanding what factors allow Salmonella to win against host cells may provide new strategies to treat typhoid fever. Findings of the study may also aid in the outcome against other immune system battles between the host and other pathogens.