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How Should Staphylococcal Food Poisoning Outbreaks Be Characterized?

Author(s): Jacques-Antoine Hennekinne | Annick Ostyn | Florence Guillier | Sabine Herbin | Anne-Laure Prufer | Sylviane Dragacci

Journal: Toxins
ISSN 2072-6651

Volume: 2;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 2106;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: staphylococcal enterotoxin | food poisoning | enzyme immunoassay | molecular tools | mass spectrometry

Staphylococcal food poisoning is one of the most common food-borne diseases and results from the ingestion of staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) preformed in food by enterotoxigenic strains of Staphylococcus aureus. To date, more than 20 SEs have been described: SEA to SElV. All SEs have superantigenic activity whereas only a few have been proved to be emetic, representing a potential hazard for consumers. Characterization of staphylococcal food poisoning outbreaks (SFPOs) has considerably progressed compared to 80 years ago, when staphylococci were simply enumerated and only five enterotoxins were known for qualitative detection. Today, SFPOs can be characterized by a number of approaches, such as the identification of S. aureus biovars, PCR and RT-PCR methods to identify the se genes involved, immunodetection of specific SEs, and absolute quantification by mass spectrometry. An integrated gene-to-protein approach for characterizing staphylococcal food poisoning is advocated.
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