Salmonella vaccine on the way
Animals first, humans later
May 8, 1997
An expanded Web version of segments seen on CNN
Web posted at: 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT)
From Correspondent Dick Wilson
ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) -- Millions of people around the
world contract serious cases of salmonella food poisoning
each year, most often from improper handling of meat, usually
chicken, pork and beef. Now a new vaccine -- for use on
animals -- may cut that number dramatically.
The vaccine, created from a live salmonella strain given to
baby chickens, was developed over the last seven years by
Professor Roy Curtiss, a biologist at Washington University
in St. Louis.
"We've removed some genes in order to prevent it from causing
disease," Curtiss said. The baby chickens ingest the vaccine through their drinking water and develop a lifelong immunity,
he said. (584K/25 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
The immune response is similar to what happens to humans who
are vaccinated against measles, Curtiss said. (375K/16 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
His vaccine -- made in a freeze-dried, concentrated form --
not only takes effect within a few hours, it also protects
the chickens' eggs.
Curtiss sees promise in vaccinating all chickens raised for
human consumption, slowing the spread of salmonella at the
M O V I E
Roy Curtiss explains the vaccine has been tested in many different animals and humans
(374K/10 sec. QuickTime movie)
And there's no reason why pigs, cattle and eventually humans
couldn't also receive the vaccine, the professor says.
The vaccine for chickens is nearing U.S. government approval
and should be available later this year. A human version
could be up to 10 years away, according to Curtiss.
For now, the following steps provide the best defense against
- Cleanliness -- washing hands and cutting boards used to
- Refrigeration -- keeping uncooked food cold.
- Thorough cooking -- preparing meat at a temperature high
enough to kill bacteria.
Salmonella, which can cause serious gastroenteritis, is
becoming more resistant to antibiotics.
The disease is especially dangerous to young children, the
elderly, and people with weak immune systems.
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