The Invasion of a Microbe

This week we are slaughtering chickens at poultry farms. These birds are apparently infected with a microbe called Salmonella and are suffering from salmonellosis. The infection can be transmitted to other animals in the farm and human beings as well. We are not yet relieved from the onslaught of the Foot and Mouth Disease as we continue to slaughter animals infected by the Aphthovirus to contain the epizootic disease. The scourge from the microbial world is already impacting our food supply and economy.

We can never ignore microbes. They are co-inhabitants of this world, found almost everywhere on the earth, in the waters and most importantly are present in the all animals and plants. The human mouth has for example as many microbes as people on the earth. This gives us an idea of their size and their ability to live in harmony with the host. They not only survive but multiply so as to maintain their existence. In case of any imbalance which can be over-proliferation, the introduction of a large microbial count through infection or fall in the resistance of the body disease develops in the host. It can be benign or fatal.

Birds and warm-blooded animals harbour the Salmonella bacteria and as with many infectious agents, when present in small numbers and confined to their appropriate location, they are harmless. However, under conditions where the resistance of their host is impaired, or when changes occur in their microbial environment, they may increase in numbers significantly, invade their host and cause disease or death.

“Salmonellosis is an important cause of disease in poultry and contaminated poultry products pose a significant health harzard to human.” This quote from Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine Vol 13 tells a lot and justifies the rapid actions taken by the authorities. We appreciate. But how did we arrive at this irreversible stage that we have to slaughter the poor birds? Microbiology literature emphasises that the spread in birds is commonly by carnivorism or by faecal contamination, and salmonellosis may be a source of infection for humans and domestic animals. In consideration of the foregoing the urgent measures seem justified but it shows laxity in the management of the poultry houses and allowing the invasion of a microbe.

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