Salmonella is a dangerous bacteria that lives in the intestines of most animals. Humans are being infected yearly from salmonella poisoning. Hundreds of people have been contaminated by beef and other food products. Why is this happening?
Salmonella Poisoning Occurs in What Foods?
Salmonella infection occurs when a person eats food contaminated with the feces of animals or humans carrying the bacteria. Salmonella outbreaks are associated with eggs, meat, and poultry, but these bacteria can also contaminate other foods such as fruits and vegetables.
The most difficult challenge in detecting the source of salmonella has baffled many. Wouldn’t it be innovative if an algorithm was created to detect where the bacteria is coming from and how to completely prevent contamination? Researchers led by Xiangyu Deng at the University of Georgia trained an algorithm to recognize genetic differences between Salmonella strains pooped out by four common hosts: pigs, cows, poultry, and wild birds.
Outbreaks Becoming Common Place
There are about 1.2 million Salmonella infections every year in the US that cause diarrhea, fever, cramps, and kill around 450 people annually. The algorithm would detect sources of salmonella outbreaks. There are more than 2,500 types of salmonella.
Industry Versus Farming: It Could Be The Cause?
Factory farming could be an issue with the spreading of salmonella. Close confinement of livestock, intensive farming operations housing tens of thousands of animals in close quarters serve as ideal incubators for disease. Several major human health concerns are associated with intensive farming, including increased transfer of infectious agents from animals to humans, antibiotic resistance, and food-borne illness.
Salmonella is a very dangerous contamination that can become embedded in the genomes of animals. Deng and his team used machine learning to determine the type of salmonella that infects certain animals. They established an algorithm that would distinguish between different genomes and that salmonella leaves a genetic footprint. His team found more than 1,400 salmonella typhimurium genome sequences in the world.
Changing Farming Practices
Machines and technology can detect and possibly find the cause of these outbreaks. The farming practices need to change because the natural way of a grazing animal has become a mass produced product that is infecting the food industry. The over use of antibiotics has become common practice because of the forced conditions on animals. Antibiotics can be harmful when abused in their usage on animals.