Importance of wild birds in the spread of Salmonella
Abstract: Salmonella is one of the most important enteropathogenic bacteria. It is responsible for about 5000 reported cases of human gastroenteritis each year in Sweden. Salmonellosis is a zoonotic disease, and the bacterium has the ability to infect a variety of both domestic and wild animal species.In studies of Swedish wild bird populations, we found that Black-headed gull may be the main reservoir for Salmonella in birds, and that Salmonella infection is expressed as carriage with no obvious disease manifestations. Black-headed gull is a migratory bird and can transport strains of Salmonella with virulence traits like antibiotic resistance, from sources outside Sweden. Genetic molecular methods, PFGE and IS200, also demonstrate that Black-headed gull play a role in the transmission chain of Salmonella in Sweden.In a study of the Swedish Peregrine Falcon population, Salmonella amager and Campylobacter jejuni were found. There were indications, based on serotyping of Salmonella and genetical typing by PFGE of Campylobacter that these isolates were transmitsted to the falcons from a human or domestic animal source. This bird of prey has sparse contact with humans but may be infected by Salmonella of human origin by feeding on other birds, like gull.Salmonella was found in penguins, albatrosses and mainly in seals in a study in Antarctica. Several features of the Salmonella serotypes found indicate a human source for Salmonella infection in these animals, and also a spread of Salmonella within and between animal species in Antarctica.
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