Feeding Caenorhabditis elegans with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium significantly shortens the lifespan of the nematode. S. Typhimurium-infected C. elegans, stained with 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate which fluoresces upon exposure to reactive oxygen species, revealed intestinal luminal staining that along with the time of infection progressed to a strong staining in the hypodermal tissues of the nematode. Still, we could not detect invasion beyond the nematode's intestinal epithelium at any stage of the infection. A similar dispersion of oxidative response was also noted in nematodes infected with S. Dublin, but not with non-pathogenic Escherichia coli or the defined pathogen Burkholderia thailandensis. Addition of catalase or the reductant ascorbic acid significantly restored the lifespan of S. Typhimurium-infected nematodes. Mutational inactivation of the bacterial thioredoxin 1 resulted in total ablation of the hypodermal oxidative response to infection, and in a strong attenuation of virulence. Virulence of the thioredoxin 1 mutant was restored by trans-complementation with redox-active variants of thioredoxin 1 or, surprisingly, by exposing the thioredoxin 1 mutant to sublethal concentrations of the disulphide catalyst copper chloride prior to infection. In summary, our observations define a new aspect in virulence of S. enterica that apparently does not involve the classical invasive or intracellular phenotype of the pathogen, but that depends on the ability to provoke overwhelming systemic oxidative stress in the host through the redox activity of bacterial thioredoxin 1.