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Novel Insights on Lesser Known Food Poisoning Bacteria Could Help Prevention and Treatment

Illustration showing the movement of pathogenic genes between bacterial species.
The pathogenic genes of Providencia rustigianii can be transferred to Enterobacteriaceae as well. Credit: Shinji Yamasaki, Osaka Metropolitan University.

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Recently, Providencia spp. which have been detected in patients with gastroenteritis, and similar to enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli. O157 and Salmonella spp., have been attracting attention as causative agents of food poisoning. For children with low immunity, food poisoning can be lethal as it causes severe symptoms such as diarrhea and dehydration, so clarifying the source of infection and pathogenic factors of Providencia spp., and establishing preventive methods are urgent issues worldwide.

A joint research group led by Professor Shinji Yamasaki, Dr. Sharda Prasad Awasthi, a Specially Appointed Lecturer, and graduate student Jayedul Hassan from the Graduate School of Veterinary Science, Osaka Metropolitan University, determined how the pathogenic genes in some Providencia spp. such as Providencia alcalifaciens and Providencia rustigianii are transferred within bacterial cells of genus Providencia. The group has also elucidated that the pathogenic genes of Providencia rustigianii are also transferred to other bacterial cells belonging to Enterobacteriaceae.

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Professor Yamasaki concluded, "This achievement is expected to provide new insights into the identification of infection routes of Providencia spp. and the establishment of preventive methods for food poisoning."

Reference: Hassan J, Awasthi SP, Hatanaka N, et al. Presence of Functionally Active Cytolethal Distending Toxin Genes on a Conjugative Plasmid in a Clinical Isolate of Providencia rustigianii. Infec Immun. 2023;91(6):e00121-22. doi:10.1128/iai.00121-22

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