Salmonella enterica in reptiles of German and Austrian origin

Geue, Lutz GND; Löschner, U.

Captive reptiles are routinely identified as reservoirs of Salmonella spp. and the number of reports about reptile-associated salmonellosis is increasing. In the present study, Salmonella were detected in 86 of 159 (54.1%) faecal reptile samples cultured. The percentage of Salmonella positive samples was significantly lower in turtles as compared with lizards and snakes, as Salmonella were only detected in one sample from a single turtle out of 38 turtles investigated. In all, 42 different Salmonella serovars were found. All isolated Salmonella belonged to the species enterica, predominantly to the subspecies I (n=46) and IIIb (n=30), but also to subspecies II (n=3), IIIa (n=6) and IV (n=2). All isolates were sensitive to the antimicrobials examined. A comparison between the reptile owners indicated that either no Salmonella were found, or that Salmonella could be isolated from all or nearly all animals of the respective owners. A significantly higher percentage of Salmonella positive reptiles was detected in the group of owners who purchase reptiles in comparison with pure breeders. A total of 88.9% of Salmonella isolates were found in samples of reptiles bought in pet shops and 58.8% in samples from wild-caught animals. The high percentage of Salmonella in reptiles in our study confirms the risk for the transmission of the infection to humans

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Geue, Lutz / Löschner, U.: Salmonella enterica in reptiles of German and Austrian origin. 2002.

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