According to the New Yorker, it used to be the case that salmonella was only found on the outside of eggs, but now apparently it's found it's way within. Perhaps I can find out a little about that transition as well...
Okay, the etymology is a bit of a let down. Salmonella is the name for one of several rod-shaped bacteria, and it takes its name simply from one Daniel Elmer Salmon, an American pathologist who studied animal disease. It was his assistant Theobald Smith, not he, who discovered the bacterium and named it in Salmon's honor.
Call me crazy, but this is the kind of honor I would happily forego.
So how does the salmonella get inside the egg? Here I was thinking somehow along the line of microscopic boring tools, but of course the answer is obvious, once you've heard it, as I did here. The salmonella is present in the ovaries of otherwise healthy looking hens and contaminates the eggs inside the hen before the shell has even formed.
Tricky little buggers, huh? Here's another item about their fiendish nature. According to Maggie Koerth-Baker over at LiveScience.com, salmonella uses an inhibiting protein called AvrA to lure your body into thinking it's not under attack, meanwhile biding it's time in your intestines until it's multiplied into a formidable force. Only then does it punch throught your intestinal walls and wreak havoc.
As Dr. Jun Sun says in this article, "This changes the way we look at bacteria. We're beginning to realize that salmonella is a creature that has existed many years longer than us and they have skills we don't understand fully. It's trickier than we thought."
I do have to say that the coolest site I found in the course of my websurfing for this is one for giant plush microbes.Take a look at salmonella:
Come on, now--what's not to like?