Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (or Salmonella Enteritidis, SE) is one of the oldest members of the genus Salmonella, based on the date of first description and has only gained prominence as a significant bacterial contaminant of food over the last three or four decades. Currently, SE is the most common Salmonella serovar causing foodborne illnesses. Control measures to alleviate human infections require that food isolates be characterized and this was until recently carried out using Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) and phage typing as the main laboratory subtyping tools for use in demonstrating relatedness of isolates recovered from infected humans and the food source. The results provided by these analytical tools were presented with easy-to-understand and comprehensible nomenclature, however, the techniques were inherently poorly discriminatory, which is attributable to the clonality of SE. The tools have now given way to whole genome sequencing which provides a full and comprehensive genetic attributes of an organism and a very attractive and superior tool for defining an isolate and for inferring genetic relatedness among isolates. A comparative phylogenomic analysis of isolates of choice provides both a visual appreciation of relatedness as well as quantifiable estimates of genetic distance. Despite the considerable information provided by whole genome analysis and development of a phylogenetic tree, the approach does not lend itself to generating a useful nomenclature-based description of SE subtypes. To this end, a highly discriminatory, cost-effective, high throughput, validated single nucleotide based genotypic polymerase chain reaction assay (SNP-PCR) was developed focussing on 60 polymorphic loci. The procedure was used to identify 25 circulating clades of SE, the largest number so far described for this organism. The new subtyping test, which exploited whole genome sequencing data, displays the attributes of an ideal subtyping test: high discrimination, low cost, rapid, highly reproducible and epidemiological concordance. The procedure is useful for identifying the subtype designation of an isolate, for defining the population structure of the organism as well as for surveillance and outbreak detection.
Part of the book: Salmonella spp