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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Jul;76(14):4601-10. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02991-09. Epub 2010 May 14.

Pork contaminated with Salmonella enterica serovar 4,[5],12:i:-, an emerging health risk for humans.

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Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, National Reference Laboratory for Salmonella, Diedersdorfer Weg 1, Berlin, Germany.


Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar 4,[5],12:i:- is a monophasic variant of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium (antigenic formula 4,[5],12:i:1,2). Worldwide, especially in several European countries and the United States, it has been reported among the 10 most frequently isolated serovars in pigs and humans. In the study reported here, 148 strains of the monophasic serovar isolated from pigs, pork, and humans in 2006 and 2007 in Germany were characterized by various phenotypic and genotypic methods. This characterization was done in order to investigate their clonality, the prevalence of identical subtypes in pigs, pork, and humans, and the genetic relatedness to other S. enterica serovar Typhimurium subtypes in respect to the pathogenic and resistance gene repertoire. Two major clonal lineages of the monophasic serovar were detected which can be differentiated by their phage types and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profiles. Seventy percent of the strains tested belonged to definite phage type DT193, and those strains were mainly assigned to PFGE cluster B. Nineteen percent of the strains were typed to phage type DT120 and of these 86% belonged to PFGE cluster A. Sixty-five percent of the isolates of both lineages carried core multiresistance to ampicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline, and sulfamethoxazole encoded by the genes bla(TEM1-like), strA-strB, tet(B), and sul2. No correlation to the source of isolation was observed in either lineage. Microarray analysis of 61 S. enterica serovar 4,[5],12:i:- and 20 S. enterica serovar Typhimurium isolates tested determining the presence or absence of 102 representative pathogenicity genes in Salmonella revealed no differences except minor variations in single strains within and between the serovars, e.g., by presence of the virulence plasmid in four strains. Overall the study indicates that in Germany S. enterica serovar 4,[5],12:i:- strains isolated from pig, pork, and human are highly related, showing their transmission along the food chain. Since the pathogenicity gene repertoire is highly similar to that of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium, it is essential that interventions are introduced at the farm level in order to limit human infection.

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