Salmonella Virchow isolates from human and avian origins in England--molecular characterization and infection of epithelial cells and poultry.

A-M Salisbury, C Bronowski, P Wigley
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Journal of applied microbiology
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AIMS: To characterize 12 Salmonella Virchow isolates from human and avian sources to begin to determine the genetic relationships within the serovar, determine its capacity to invade and induce inflammatory responses in human intestinal epithelial cells and investigate its ability to colonize the chicken gastrointestinal tract. METHODS AND RESULTS: Multi-Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) revealed that 11 isolates belonged to sequence type 16 (ST16). Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) grouped the isolates into two main clusters. All isolates contained genes associated with virulence determined through PCR virulotyping. All the S. Virchow isolates had the ability to invade human epithelial cells and elicit high levels of production of the pro-inflammatory chemokine interleukin-8 (IL-8). Experimental infection of poultry showed S. Virchow colonizes the caeca and spleen. CONCLUSIONS: Isolates within the serovar show high levels of genetic relatedness regardless of the source. The data indicates S. Virchow is an invasive and inflammatory serovar, consistent with its association with invasive salmonellosis in humans. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: The poultry infection experiment included in this study shows S. Virchow can colonize the gastrointestinal tract rapidly and to high levels with the chickens showing no clinical signs of infection. The asymptomatic colonization of chickens indicates an increased ability of S. Virchow to enter the food chain undetected and cause human salmonellosis which because of the invasive and inflammatory nature of S. Virchow seen during the Caco2 invasion assay and previous studies showing its invasive nature in humans and increasing resistance to antibiotics is a public health concern.