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Glickman Announces New Rapid Test For Antibiotic-Resistant Salmonella / January 20, 1999 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Glickman Announces New Rapid Test For Antibiotic-Resistant Salmonella; Also Touts Clinton Administration’s Leadership in Promoting Food Safety

By Jill Lee
January 20, 1999

NASHVILLE, Jan. 20--Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman today announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists have developed a technique to rapidly detect DT104, a potentially deadly strain of Salmonella bacteria that resists many antibiotics. The researchers found a key gene sequence, present only in this virulent strain of Salmonella, that allows for quick identification.

“Quickly identifying outbreaks of this bacteria is vital to protecting public health,” said Glickman. “This important research cuts identification time from six weeks to two hours.”

The sooner physicians know that they are dealing with DT104, the sooner they can begin the aggressive treatments needed to combat the bacteria. Delays in identifying DT104 almost cost a Vermont dairy farmer her life in 1997 and killed 14 of her cows. The pathogen has killed people in Great Britain and sickened children in Nebraska.

No test kit currently exists to use the new technique to detect DT104. This discovery opens the door to development of test kits, Glickman said. He added that such a kit might be able to detect the pathogen in blood samples or in run-off water from animal production.

Lance Bolton, Lynda Kelley and Paula Cray, scientists at the Agricultural Research Service’s Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit in Athens, Ga., worked closely with University of Georgia researchers to develop the new DT104 test.

Glickman also praised the Clinton Administration’s record of accomplishment on promoting food safety. He said the Administration would seek an additional $106.9 million for food safety activities in the fiscal 2000 budget proposal.

“President Clinton’s National Food Safety Initiative is enhancing inspections, expanding cutting-edge research, and promoting foodborne disease surveillance,” Glickman said. “And the results demonstrate that our comprehensive, farm-to-table strategy is working.”

Scientific contact: Lance Bolton and Lynda Kelley, Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit, ARS Richard B. Russell Research Center, Athens, Ga., phone (706) 546-3524, fax (706) 546-3771, lbolton@asrr.arsusda.gov and lkelley@ars.usda.gov.

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