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Submitted to: Environmental Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2001
Publication Date: 7/1/2001
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: There is something special about Salmonella enteritidis, because it is the only egg-contaminating salmonellae that is a frequent cause of human illness. In this review, factors that could be responsible for its emergence as the world's leading cause of human salmonellosis are discussed. The model includes current theories about egg contamination and doutlines how different factors affecting egg contamination, animal health and human health could be explained by a new found ability of S. enteritidis to adapt to a number of hosts, such as the human, the chicken and the rodent, as well as to grow better in the hen-house environment. It is suggested that S. enteritidis has bypassed a bottleneck in development and is capable of displaying biology that has not yet been described for other salmonellae.

Technical Abstract: Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. enteritidis) is the most prevalent cause of food-borne salmonellosis worldwide, in part because it has the unique ability to contaminate the hen's egg without causing discernible illness in the mature bird. It has been suggested that its emergence as an important pathogen over the past twenty years could be due to the outgrowth of strains that enter into alternative bacterial developmental pathways that are not usually available to the pathogenic salmonellae. In this article, evidence that changes in growth patterns and cell surface characteristics signifying alternative development has aided adaptation of S. enteritidis to hosts (human, chicken, and rodent) as well as environments (egg and hen-house) will be discussed. A model for egg contamination depicts biological risk factors that help explain how S. enteritidis differs from other pathogenic salmonellae, as well as other theories on the how the pandemic emerged.