Dr. Erik Petersen of ETSE Receives Grant for Salmonella Prevention Research
Salmonella infection has become one of the leading causes of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that roughly 1.35 million people contract salmonellosis every year in the U.S., leading to 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths annually. Consequently, there is a need for further research regarding Salmonella, its prevention, and treatment options.
Just this month, Dr. Petersen of East Tennessee State University received a sizable grant of $300,000 to be used for the continuation of his research regarding the prevention of Salmonella. The grant is a bi-annual collaborative grant awarded with Dr. Erez Mills from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, located in Rehovot, Israel.
Dr. Petersen says,“Currently, among the food-borne zoonoses, or diseases that are spread between animals and people, Salmonellosis has become a frequent major public health concern”. He points out, “at the global level, the main source of Salmonellosis is consumption of contaminated poultry meat products…the current Salmonella control measures implemented in poultry production chains have met limited success due to various reasons. The detection of drug resistance in non-typhoidal Salmonella has also increased the concern in the salmonellosis control.” Through his research, Petersen hopes to do his part in addressing this growing issue.
As National food poisoning attorney, Ron Simon, points out, the issue is that your food can be contaminated with Salmonella, without you even knowing. He says, “foods contaminated with Salmonella usually look, smell, and taste normal”. Petersen’s research aims to solve this problem.
Dr. Petersen’s research focuses around the prevention of Salmonella contamination in poultry products. Through his research Dr. Petersen plans to develop and implement the use of antibacterial compounds which would function using natural environmental signals sensed by bacteria, in order to reveal when Salmonella is present. Perhaps the best part of his design is that the method presents no concern for toxicity, drug resistance or mutant selection, since it uses naturally occurring environmental signals in bacteria.
Petersen is hopeful that “this award can foster long-term collaboration to carry out further research on Salmonella biology, their survival in the environment and in the host, including poultry and human, and elucidating the mechanisms of their persistence and spread in poultry production”. According to long-time Salmonella lawyer Ron Simon, “this is promising work, and Dr. Petersen is to be commended.”