Cronobacter: Virulence and Pathogenesis
This chapter presents the animal and tissue culture models used thus far to identify bacterial and host factors that contribute to Cronobacter pathogenesis. Originally referred to as yellow-pigmented Enterobacter cloacae, it was later classified as a new species Enterobacter sakazakii. Subsequent characterization enabled the reclassification of these bacteria into a new genus called Cronobacter. As a foodborne pathogen, Cronobacter spp. cause systemic infections by crossing the gastrointestinal barrier, which is followed by invasion of the blood-brain barrier. Cronobacter spp. form biofilms on a variety of surfaces including enteral feeding tubes, which could be a source of infections in low-birth-weight infants. To date, investigators have used a variety of animal species to understand the pathogenic mechanisms. Commonly present in various food sources and soil, Cronobacter spp. The neonatal rat model, which mimics human disease, is extremely useful to identify the bacterial virulence factors and host response to infection, thereby helping to create appropriate treatment strategies.