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Build a bug activity. Introduction to Salmonella. What is a pathogen?. A pathogen is a disease causing agent. Fungus. Bacteria. Protozoa. Virus. Images: Janice Carr; CDC/Dr. Godon Roberstad; Wellcome Images; Anna Tanczos, Wellcome Images. Question.

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build a bug activity

Build a bug activity

Introduction to Salmonella

what is a pathogen
What is a pathogen?
  • A pathogen is a disease causing agent





Images: Janice Carr; CDC/Dr. Godon Roberstad; Wellcome Images; Anna Tanczos, Wellcome Images


Can you name a disease caused by bacteria?

bacteria features
Bacteria features

Image: Genome Research Limited

  • Salmonella infections can be transmitted between humans and animals. Infection via food is also possible.
  • This activity focuses on two types of Salmonella that cause two distinctive diseases:
    • gastroenteritis Salmonella
    • typhoid Salmonella.

Image: David Goulding, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute


The genus: Salmonella

Defined by biochemistry

Defined by disease syndrome

Affects Humans, cows & lizards

Affects Humans only

what s the difference
What’s the difference?



Human specific

Typhoid fever (systemic)

1 – 3 week incubation


Slow progressive fever (up to 40oC), sweating , abdominal pain.

If left untreated can lead to intestinal haemorrhage or perforation.

601 unique genes

  • Generalist
  • Food poisoning / gastroenteritis (localised)
  • 6 – 24 hour incubation
  • Symptoms
    • Diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal cramps
  • Zoonosis
  • 479 unique genes

Image: David Goulding, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance

Around the world, more drug resistance isolates of Salmonella Typhi are being found.

Images: Genome Research Limited

how does resistance occur
How does resistance occur?
  • Use of antibiotics creates a selective pressure.
  • Only bacteria with genes that confer resistance can survive a treatment of antibiotics.
  • Eventually they can make up the whole population.

Population after antibiotics

Before antibiotics

Add antibiotics

horizontal transfer
Horizontal transfer
  • New antibiotic genes can be acquired via horizontal transfer or conjugation.

Images: Genome Research Limited

new multi drug resistant salmonella typhimurium
New multi-drug resistant Salmonella Typhimurium
  • A new multi drug resistant strain of Salmonella Typhimurium is emerging in Sub Saharan Africa.
  • Sequencing the genome of the bacteria revealed important information about the biology of the organism.

Image: David Goulding, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Hear from the leading scientist on the research programme

the activity
The Activity
  • Research and assemble a Salmonella bacterial genome.
  • Use the information resources to research key genetic components which determine the bacteria’s disease causing ability.
  • Use modelling clay to create your bacterial genome.
assemble a genome
Assemble a genome
  • Using modelling clay or the paper genome provided assemble three key genetic components on a chromosome backbone for either:
    • Salmonella Typhi or
    • Salmonella Typhimurium.
feed back your results
Feed back your results
  • Add your results to the class spreadsheet or results table.