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Clostridium perfringens Food Poisoning [keywords]
- Estimates of the Burden of Foodborne Illness in Canada for 30 Specified Pathogens and Unspecified Agents, Circa 2006. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Foodborne Pathog Dis 2013 May 9.
Abstract Estimates of foodborne illness are important for setting food safety priorities and making public health policies. The objective of this analysis is to estimate domestically acquired, foodborne illness in Canada, while identifying data gaps and areas for further research. Estimates of illness due to 30 pathogens and unspecified agents were based on data from the 2000-2010 time period from Canadian surveillance systems, relevant international literature, and the Canadian census population for 2006. The modeling approach required accounting for under-reporting and underdiagnosis and to estimate the proportion of illness domestically acquired and through foodborne transmission. To account for uncertainty, Monte Carlo simulations were performed to generate a mean estimate and 90% credible interval. It is estimated that each year there are 1.6 million (1.2-2.0 million) and 2.4 million (1.8-3.0 million) episodes of domestically acquired foodborne illness related to 30 known pathogens and unspecified agents, respectively, for a total estimate of 4.0 million (3.1-5.0 million) episodes of domestically acquired foodborne illness in Canada. Norovirus, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter spp., and nontyphoidal Salmonella spp. are the leading pathogens and account for approximately 90% of the pathogen-specific total. Approximately one in eight Canadians experience an episode of domestically acquired foodborne illness each year in Canada. These estimates cannot be compared with prior crude estimates in Canada to assess illness trends as different methodologies were used.
- Foodborne Disease Outbreaks caused by Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens, and Staphylococcus aureus, United States, 1998-2008. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Clin Infect Dis 2013 Apr 16.
From 1998-2008, 1,229 foodborne outbreaks caused by B. cereus, C. perfringens, S. aureus were reported in the United States; 39% were reported with a confirmed etiology. Vomiting was commonly reported in B. cereus (median: 75% of cases) and S. aureus outbreaks (median: 87%), but rarely in C. perfringens outbreaks (median: 9%). Meat or poultry dishes were commonly implicated in C. perfringens (63%) and S. aureus (55%) outbreaks, while rice dishes were commonly implicated in B. cereus outbreaks (50%). Errors in food processing and preparation were commonly reported (93%), regardless of etiology; contamination by a food worker was only common in S. aureus outbreaks (55%). Public health interventions should focus on these commonly reported errors to reduce the occurrence of outbreaks caused by B. cereus, C. perfringens, and S. aureus in the United States.
- Unique regulatory mechanism of sporulation and enterotoxin production in Clostridium perfringens. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Bacteriol 2013 Apr 12.
Clostridium perfringens causes gas gangrene and gastrointestinal (GI) diseases in humans. The most common cause of C. perfringens-associated food poisoning is the consumption of C. perfringens vegetative cells followed by sporulation and production of enterotoxin in the gut. Despite the importance of spore formation in C. perfringens pathogenesis, the details of the regulation of sporulation have not yet been fully defined. In this study, microarray and bioinformatic analyses identified a candidate gene (RNA regulator, virX) for the repression of genes encoding positive regulators (Spo0A and sigma factors) of C. perfringens sporulation. A virX mutant constructed in the food-poisoning strain SM101 had much higher sporulation efficiency compared to the wild-type. The transcription of sigE, sigF and sigK was strongly induced at 2.5 h of culture of the virX mutant. Moreover, the transcription of the enterotoxin gene was also strongly induced in the virX mutant. Western blotting analyses confirmed that the levels of enterotoxin production were higher in the virX mutant compared to the wild-type. These indicate that the higher levels of sporulation and enterotoxin production in the virX mutant were specifically due to inactivation of the virX gene. Since a virX homologue was not found in any Bacillus species, but is present in other clostridial species, our findings identify further differences in the regulation of sporulation between Bacillus and certain Clostridium species. The virX RNA regulator would play a key role on the drastic shift of lifestyle of an anaerobic flesh-eater C. perfringens, between vegetative state (for gas gangrene) and sporulating state (for food poisoning).
- Inactivation strategy for Clostridium perfringens spores adhered to food contact surfaces. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.]
- Food Microbiol 2013 Jun; 34(2):328-36.
The contamination of enterotoxigenic Clostridium perfringens spores on food contact surfaces posses a serious concern to food industry due to their high resistance to various preservation methods typically applied to control foodborne pathogens. In this study, we aimed to develop an strategy to inactivate C. perfringens spores on stainless steel (SS) surfaces by inducing spore germination and killing of germinated spores with commonly used disinfectants. The mixture of l-Asparagine and KCl (AK) induced maximum spore germination for all tested C. perfringens food poisoning (FP) and non-foodborne (NFB) isolates. Incubation temperature had a major impact on C. perfringens spore germination, with 40 °C induced higher germination than room temperature (RT) (20 ± 2 °C). In spore suspension, the implementation of AK-induced germination step prior to treatment with disinfectants significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced the inactivation of spores of FP strain SM101. However, under similar conditions, no significant spore inactivation was observed with NFB strain NB16. Interestingly, while the spores of FP isolates were able to germinate with AK upon their adhesion to SS chips, no significant germination was observed with spores of NFB isolates. Consequently, the incorporation of AK-induced germination step prior to decontamination of SS chips with disinfectants significantly (p < 0.05) inactivated the spores of FP isolates. Collectively, our current results showed that triggering spore germination considerably increased sporicidal activity of the commonly used disinfectants against C. perfringens FP spores attached to SS chips. These findings should help in developing an effective strategy to inactivate C. perfringens spores adhered to food contact surfaces.
- Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from mediterranean aromatic plants against several foodborne and spoilage bacteria. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Food Sci Technol Int 2013 Feb 26.
The antimicrobial activity of essential oils extracted from a variety of aromatic plants, often used in the Portuguese gastronomy was studied in vitro by the agar diffusion method. The essential oils of thyme, oregano, rosemary, verbena, basil, peppermint, pennyroyal and mint were tested against Gram-positive (Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium perfringens, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus faecalis, and Staphylococcus epidermidis) and Gram-negative strains (Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa). For most essential oils examined, S. aureus, was the most susceptible bacteria, while P. aeruginosa showed, in general, least susceptibility. Among the eight essential oils evaluated, thyme, oregano and pennyroyal oils showed the greatest antimicrobial activity, followed by rosemary, peppermint and verbena, while basil and mint showed the weakest antimicrobial activity. Most of the essential oils considered in this study exhibited a significant inhibitory effect. Thyme oil showed a promising inhibitory activity even at low concentration, thus revealing its potential as a natural preservative in food products against several causal agents of foodborne diseases and food spoilage. In general, the results demonstrate that, besides flavoring the food, the use of aromatic herbs in gastronomy can also contribute to a bacteriostatic effect against pathogens.
- Characterization of bacteriophages virulent for Clostridium perfringens and identification of phage lytic enzymes as alternatives to antibiotics for potential control of the bacterium. [Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.]
- Poult Sci 2013 Feb; 92(2):526-33.
There has been a resurgent interest in the use of bacteriophages or their gene products to control bacterial pathogens as alternatives to currently used antibiotics. Clostridium perfringens is a gram-positive, spore-forming anaerobic bacterium that plays a significant role in human foodborne disease as well as non-foodborne human, animal, and avian diseases. Countries that have complied with the ban on antimicrobial growth promoters in feeds have reported increased incidences of C. perfringens-associated diseases in poultry. To address these issues, new antimicrobial agents, putative lysins encoded by the genomes of bacteriophages, are being identified in our laboratory. Poultry intestinal material, soil, sewage, and poultry processing drainage water were screened for virulent bacteriophages that could lyse C. perfringens and produce clear plaques in spot assays. Bacteriophages were isolated that had long noncontractile tails, members of the family Siphoviridae, and with short noncontractile tails, members of the family Podoviridae. Several bacteriophage genes were identified that encoded N-acetylmuramoyl-l-alanine amidases, lysozyme-endopeptidases, and a zinc carboxypeptidase domain that has not been previously reported in viral genomes. Putative phage lysin genes (ply) were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. The recombinant lysins were amidases capable of lysing both parental phage host strains of C. perfringens as well as other strains of the bacterium in spot and turbidity reduction assays, but did not lyse any clostridia beyond the species. Consequently, bacteriophage gene products could eventually be used to target bacterial pathogens, such as C. perfringens via a species-specific strategy, to control animal and human diseases without having deleterious effects on beneficial probiotic bacteria.
- Use of a mariner-based transposon mutagenesis system to isolate Clostridium perfringens mutants deficient in gliding motility. [Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.]
- J Bacteriol 2013 Feb; 195(3):629-36.
Clostridium perfringens is an anaerobic Gram-positive pathogen that causes many human and animal diseases, including food poisoning and gas gangrene. C. perfringens lacks flagella but possesses type IV pili (TFP). We have previously shown that C. perfringens can glide across an agar surface in long filaments composed of individual bacteria attached end to end and that two TFP-associated proteins, PilT and PilC, are needed for this. To discover additional gene products that play a role in gliding, we developed a plasmid-based mariner transposon mutagenesis system that works effectively in C. perfringens. More than 10,000 clones were screened for mutants that lacked the ability to move away from the edge of a colony. Twenty-four mutants (0.24%) were identified that fit the criteria. The genes containing insertions that affected gliding motility fell into nine different categories. One gene, CPE0278, which encodes a homolog of the SagA cell wall-dependent endopeptidase, acquired distinct transposon insertions in two independent mutants. sagA mutants were unable to form filaments due to a complete lack of end-to-end connections essential for gliding motility. Complementation of the sagA mutants with a wild-type copy of the gene restored gliding motility. We constructed an in-frame deletion mutation in the sagA gene and found that this mutant had a phenotype similar to those of the transposon mutants. We hypothesize that the sagA mutant strains are unable to form the molecular complexes which are needed to keep the cells in an end-to-end orientation, leading to separation of daughter cells and the inability to carry out gliding motility.
- Using a theoretical predictive tool for the analysis of recent health department inspections at outbreak restaurants and relation of this information to foodborne illness likelihood. [Journal Article]
- J Food Prot 2012 Nov; 75(11):2016-27.
Because U.S. restaurants are inspected at least annually against criteria in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Model Food Code, large amounts of data are generated and should be systematically reviewed. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationships among the data obtained through health department inspections, the contributing factors to foodborne illness identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the risks of outbreaks of norovirus, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens infection associated with a specific restaurant. These agents were chosen for the analysis because they cause the majority of foodborne illnesses. A theoretical predictive assessment tool was built that extracts data from routine health department inspection reports for specific restaurants to establish a risk profile for each restaurant and identify the likelihood of a norovirus, Salmonella, or C. perfringens outbreak at that restaurant. The tool was used to examine inspection reports from restaurants known to have had confirmed norovirus, Salmonella, and C. perfringens outbreaks. Although evaluation of an extensive data set revealed lack of an overall association between outbreak inspection scores and routine inspection scores obtained at outbreak restaurant locations, certain specific violations were significantly more likely to be recorded. Significant differences in types of violations recorded during outbreak and routine inspections were determined. When risks based on violation type can be identified, targeted actions may be able to be prioritized and implemented to help decrease illnesses.
- Comparative genomic hybridization analysis shows different epidemiology of chromosomal and plasmid-borne cpe-carrying Clostridium perfringens type A. [Comparative Study, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- PLoS One 2012; 7(10):e46162.
Clostridium perfringens, one of the most common causes of food poisonings, can carry the enterotoxin gene, cpe, in its chromosome or on a plasmid. C. perfringens food poisonings are more frequently caused by the chromosomal cpe-carrying strains, while the plasmid-borne cpe-positive genotypes are more commonly found in the human feces and environmental samples. Different tolerance to food processing conditions by the plasmid-borne and chromosomal cpe-carrying strains has been reported, but the reservoirs and contamination routes of enterotoxin-producing C. perfringens remain unknown. A comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) analysis with a DNA microarray based on three C. perfringens type A genomes was conducted to shed light on the epidemiology of C. perfringens food poisonings caused by plasmid-borne and chromosomal cpe-carrying strains by comparing chromosomal and plasmid-borne cpe-positive and cpe-negative C. perfringens isolates from human, animal, environmental, and food samples. The chromosomal and plasmid-borne cpe-positive C. perfringens genotypes formed two distinct clusters. Variable genes were involved with myo-inositol, ethanolamine and cellobiose metabolism, suggesting a new epidemiological model for C. perfringens food poisonings. The CGH results were complemented with growth studies, which demonstrated different myo-inositol, ethanolamine, and cellobiose metabolism between the chromosomal and plasmid-borne cpe-carrying strains. These findings support a ubiquitous occurrence of the plasmid-borne cpe-positive strains and their adaptation to the mammalian intestine, whereas the chromosomal cpe-positive strains appear to have a narrow niche in environments containing degrading plant material. Thus the epidemiology of the food poisonings caused by two populations appears different, the plasmid-borne cpe-positive strains probably contaminating foods via humans and the chromosomal strains being connected to plant material.