Host-to-host transmission in most Salmonella serovars occurs primarily via the fecal-oral route. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi is a human host-adapted pathogen and some S. Typhi patients become asymptomatic carriers. These individuals excrete large numbers of the bacteria in their feces and transmit the pathogen by contaminating water or food sources. The carrier state has also been described in livestock animals and is responsible for food-borne epidemics. Identification and treatment of carriers are crucial for the control of disease outbreaks.
This review describes recent advances in molecular profiling of human carriers and the use of animal models to identify potential host and bacterial genes involved in the establishment of the carrier state.