Molecular testing for Salmonella is used for the laboratory documentation of infections by this germ.
Salmonella enterica is a mobile, rod-shaped, Gram-negative bacterium belonging to the family Enterobecteriacae. There are over 2,000 serotypes that make up this species, with their genomes ranging in length from 4.5 to 5 million nucleotides arranged in a circular configuration with plasmids. These serotypes can cause various human diseases ranging from gastroenteritis to typhoid fever, a deadly disease for about 500,000 people worldwide every year.
Salmonella enterica can be found naturally in poultry and red meat and can also contaminate water sources. When consumed by humans with any of these sources, the bacterium secretes adhesion proteins called adhesins which adhere to the intestinal epithelial cells. The bacteria then move to the liver and spleen where they multiply. From the liver, the bacteria are released back into the gut and then excreted. In areas with poor hygiene, bacteria can contaminate water sources. Various antibiotics have been shown to be useful in reducing the duration of infection.
The 3 main serotypes of Salmonella enterica cause very different symptoms.
The Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi causes typhoid fever, which initially presents with vomiting and diarrhea. This disease develops over several weeks, leading to high fever, abdominal pain, and chest or abdominal rash. Various complications can occur such as intestinal bleeding or intestinal perforation and inflammation of various organs and bones.
Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium and Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis cause much milder symptoms than serotype typhi, and are responsible for causing salmonellosis, a type of gastroenteritis. Serotype enteritidis is much more common than serotype typhimurium. Salmonellosis is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, but usually lasts about seven days before the immune system is able to control it. Of course, in people with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly and infants, the disease can be fatal if left untreated.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.