● What is Salmonella? This bacterium is naturally present in the digestive tract of livestock, such as cattle, chickens or even in reptiles such as snakes or turtles
Salmonella is spread by their droppings.
They can, in this case, enter in contact with the milk during milking. “The milk powder contains mainly cow’s milk, which could explain the presence of salmonella. But manufacturers also add many additives which have also been able to be brought into contact with the bacteria. But salmonella does not happen like that,” explains François-Xavier Weill, director of the research unit, and expertise of enteric Bacterial pathogens at the Institut Pasteur and director of the National Reference Centre (CNR) on the salmonella.
● The first symptoms? The first symptoms appear 12 to 48 hours after the ingestion of food carrying the pathogen. Follow of stomach pains, diarrhoea, vomiting and fever between 39 and 40 degrees. If the bacterium multiplies rapidly in the cells, it may also be responsible for blood in the stool, further tests are then needed to confirm the diagnosis.
“All of these symptoms in a baby can be a cause of dehydration rapid and severe, see septicaemia if the bacteria spreads in the blood,” says Mr. Weill. ” READ ALSO – salmonella are responsible for 20,000 food-borne illness per year ● Is this serious? Salmonella is a bacteria responsible for digestive infections: from simple gastroenteritis to forms of infections much more severe, up to death. It depends on the amount ingested and the immune system.
“In our laboratories, we confirm by an average of 10,000 cases of salmonellosis per year. But everyone does not test, and not all of us are not sent, therefore we can estimate that the organism causes up to 200,000 infections per year. However, the report of public Health in France reports of 67 deaths between 2008 and 2013 because of the bacteria. Fatal cases are rare, but this infection at a high cost to society in terms of public Health and on the economic plan,” said François-Xavier Weill.
The the most fragile people such as infants, pregnant women or the elderly are especially vulnerable to the bacteria against the immune system more fragile. “As adults we have a varied diet, but in the case of babies, it is exclusively composed of milk. If it is contaminated with salmonella, they will receive larger amount and with an immune system still in development, unable to fight effectively on the attack, they will be more quickly and severely affected,” he continued. In the majority of cases, adult patients heal themselves within a week. Among patients most severely affected or most vulnerable, an antibiotic treatment may be prescribed by the doctor.
● How to avoid it? The best way to protect yourself is to wash hands regularly, especially before eating, after touching animals or meat. It is also advisable to wash the cooking utensils after contact with meat, it prevents what is called cross-contamination. In addition, it is recommended to eat cooked foods for populations at risk, the chances of contamination, then become almost nil. “We compared the bacteria isolated from the infants of the current episode of bacteria isolated in another episode related to milk powder in 2005. It was also caused by Salmonella agona and also involved one of the brands of milk from the current episode. We were able to conclude that it was the same strains responsible and, therefore, that the 2 outbreaks have a common source.
The ongoing investigation will determine that it is this common source: the contamination level of a farm, the environment of the plant or related to the presence of a healthy carrier that has contaminated the chain of production,” concluded the director of the CNR.