Recent Salmonella outbreak in the United States

An ongoing salmonella outbreak that originated in one of the United States’ largest poultry producers has spread to more than 20 states.

While the outbreak was caused largely by the Salmonella Heidelberg strain and resulted in no fatalities, different forms of the bacteria can be more dangerous, particularly in the developing world where advanced diagnostic techniques may be unavailable.

Typhoid fever is one of the most harmful diseases caused by salmonella bacteria. The World Health Organization estimates that between 17 and 22 million people suffer from typhoid fever annually and, of that number, approximately 600,000 die. Typhoid fever is caused by Salmonella Typhi, and is transmitted to humans in much the same way as Salmonella Heidelberg is, through fecal contamination of food or water supplies. Typhoid fever is therefore most common in countries with poor sanitation.

The Mérieux Foundation is contributing to the fight against salmonella infections with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the development of a new diagnostic tool to rapidly detect Salmonella Typhi. This diagnostic test is well adapted for use in developing countries that are at a higher risk of typhoid fever outbreaks. Faster detection means faster interventions and better health outcomes for men, women, and children around the world.