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Microbiol Immunol. 2000;44(9):741-8.

Lack of evidence of an association between the carriage of virulence plasmid and the bacteremia of Salmonella typhimurium in humans.

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Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Children's Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan.


The involvement of the virulence plasmid (pSTV) of Salmonella typhimurium in human salmonellosis was examined. Most of the 224 clinical strains isolated from the blood (53) and nonblood samples (171) contained a 90 kb or larger plasmid, most of which were pSTV. The rates of pSTV carriage in the isolates showed no statistically significant difference between those derived from the blood and those from other sources (87% vs. 83%; chi2=0.49, 0.1<P<0.9), suggesting that pSTV may not play a critical role in promoting S. typhimurium bacteremia in humans. Nine strains with representative plasmid profiles were tested for the mouse virulence. The result revealed that these clinical isolates contained all three virulent types known: the avirulent, the highly virulent when a pSTV was present, and the moderately virulent regardless of the presence or absence of pSTV. This indicated that mouse virulence of S. typhimurium did not correlate their virulence in humans. Clinical data showed that most patients with primary bacteremia had underlying immunosuppressive diseases, whereas only a few patients with secondary bacteremia had preexisting diseases (87% vs. 13%; chi2=22.73, P<0.005). It is suggested that the contribution of pSTV to S. typhimurium bacteremia in humans is likely to be limited, and both the host factor and the microbial virulence determinants on the chromosome are more important than virulence plasmid in predisposing patients to bacteremia.

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