Initiating a Salmonella surveillance programme for better public health

Salmonella enterica is one of the most significant foodborne pathogens. It has been known to have the ability to mutate, resist drugs and find new ways to transmit to other humans and animals. While numerous potential methods of transmission exist, commercial chicken and pig meat have been recognised as crucial food vehicles for the pathogen, posing a significant risk to health and wealth of countries such as the Philippines, which produce and consume large amounts of these foods.

This pioneering research aims to be the first to use whole genome sequencing to understand the genetic diversity of Salmonella enterica across the swine and poultry food chains in Metropolitan Manila, Philippines. Studies using whole genome sequencing in the Philippines are extremely rare and are at the early stages but significant work has begun to track the source of the pathogen – a key measure to control its spread.

Over 1,800 Salmonella enterica strains from the swine food chain have been collected from 270 newly slaughtered hogs, and 600 samples obtained from fresh meat markets. Of these 270 hogs, 77 percent tested positive for Salmonella, allowing researchers to start investigating where and how the hogs became infected.

Long term, research focusing on Salmonella enterica incidence, virulence, drug resistance, and transmission, are needed to give the Philippines the capacity to put in place an effective surveillance programme.

Ultimately, this collaboration enables far-reaching impacts not only on animal and human health systems, but also in the food industry and trade in the Philippines.

Professor Taane Clark, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine


Using genomics to trace Salmonella transmission and antimicrobial resistance in the poultry and swine food chains in Metropolitan Manila, Philippines

Project leads: Professor Taane Clark, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK and Professor Windell Rivera, Natural Sciences Research Institute, University of the Philippines Diliman

Delivery partners: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation and the Department of Agriculture – Biotechnology Programme, Philippines

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