Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) poses a global threat to public health. Poultry, one of the main reservoirs of NTS, is usually not clinically affected by most NTS, yet the economic losses to the poultry industry due to control and mitigation efforts, and due to negative publicity can be tremendous. NTS strains are routinely characterized into serotypes in a time-consuming, labor-intensive multistep process that requires skilled personnel. Moreover, the discriminatory power of serotyping is limited compared to other subtyping methods. Whole-genome sequence data enable the identification of genetic variation within serotypes. However, sequencing is often limited by available resources, and analyzing and interpreting the genetic data may be time-consuming. Source tracing during epidemiological outbreak investigations requires rapid and efficient characterization of strains to control pathogen spread. Here we designed a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the detection of genetic variants of Salmonella Muenchen, a serotype that has emerged in Israel in the last 3 yr in both clinical human cases and different hosts. Test sensitivity of 99.21% and specificity of 94 to 100% were determined using in-silico PCR with a dataset of 18,282 NTS assemblies from 37 NTS serotypes. Similarly, test sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 96.2 to 100% were determined in-vitro with 120 NTS isolates of 52 serotypes. Moreover, the test enabled differentiation between the common sequence types of serotype Muenchen using both approaches. As opposed to traditional serotyping and other subtyping methods, the designed test allows for rapid and cost-efficient detection of the emerging S. Muenchen serotype and its variants in a single step. Future development of similar assays for other dominant serotypes may help reduce the time and cost required for detection and initial characterization of dominant NTS strains. Overall, these tests will be beneficial to both public health and for reducing of the economic losses to the poultry industry due to NTS infections.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Dr. Bonnie P. Weber for her help in retrieving the Salmonella Muenchen isolates from the University of Minnesota. The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.
- genetic characterization
- public health