Yummy Salmonella

peanut_butter_by_jakegarn

Called in sick yesterday because of the flu;I had low-grade fever and body malaise which makes me unfit to go on a 24-hour duty. I wish I could  just stay home and snap my fingers for food and medicines to be delivered at my bedside but I am no princess and there is no slave  around (my brothers are on summer vacation).So I had to drag myself to the grocery to get food and the pharmacy to get some Paracetamol tablets. I picked up a loaf of wheat bread in one aisle and my first thought was peanut butter would go best with it. I scratched the idea, recalled that my brother left a bottle of sugar-free (uggh)  strawberry jam in the ref.

I saw the evening news about Ludy’s Peanut Butter testing positive for Salmonella. What???! I thought, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t lay a finger on that peanut butter?”.Oh well,I wasn’t planning on getting Ludy’s though because of the visible layer of oil above the peanut spread. Nutella—the hazelnut spread, was on my mind, which was way off an intern’s budget.

So, what is Salmonella?

It is one of the Enterbacteriaceae or Enterics— a group of gram negative rods that live in the intestinal tract of humans and animals. Salmonella is unique from the other Enterics because it lives in the gastrointestinal tract of animals and it causes disease in humans when there is contamination of food or water with animal feces. Only the species  Salmonella typhi is an exception because it is carried only by humans.Which simply means that Ludy’s peanut butter and that other brand—the batch of Yummy peanut butter—has animal or human feces in it.Eew.

A lot of animals can carry Salmonella. It is  mostly acquired from eating chickens and uncooked eggs. Even Isaw is not spared from Salmonella. According to a study in UP Diliman, “Hazard Analysis of Some Popular Streetfoods in the Philippines” by Azanza and Gedaria, improperly cleaned chicken intestines, as well as the addition of food color, provide the initial contamination. Even if the chicken Isaw is grilled, the length of time and the temperature at which the intestines are cooked, it does not guarantee that it is microorganism-free. In their study, even cooked Isaw was found positive for Salmonella and coliform.

Salmonella produces three major types of disease in humans:

Enteric Fevers (Typhoid Fever). This is produced by a few salmonella, usually by Salmonella Typhi. When salmonellae is ingested, it reaches the small intestines and enter the  lymphatic system and then goes to the blood. Via the bloodstream they are carried to several organs including the intestines. The bacteria then multiply in the intestinal lymphoid tissue and are excreted through the stools.

The incubation period is 10-14 days, after that the clinical manifestation may include fever, malaise, headache, constipation, bradycardia (heartbeat <60 beats/min) and myalgia. The fever may rise and the spleen and liver become enlarged. In some cases, rose spots are seen on the skin of the chest and abdomen.

Sepsis. This is usually associated with Salmonealla Cholerasuis. After oral ingestion of the organism, there is invasion of the bloodstream which may lead to focal lesions in the lungs ,bones or the brain. There are no gastrointestinal symptoms because the GI tract is usually not involved.

Gastroenteritis. This is the most common presentation of a Salmonella infection. The clinical manifestation includes nausea, abdominal pain and watery or mucoid diarrhea. Only half of patients have fever.Treatment involves replacing fluid loss and electrolytes.

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References:
Azanza, Maria Patricia V. and Arlyn I. Gedaria.Hazard Analysis of Some Popular Streetfoods in the Philippines.
Brooks, Geo F. MD, et. al. Jawetz, Melnick, & Adelberg's Medical Microbiology.21st ed.1998.USA: Appleton and Lange.
Gladwin, Mark MD, and Bill Trattler MD. Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple. 2004.Miami, FL: MedMaster, Inc.
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