Wild birds and silage as reservoirs of Listeria in the agricultural environment



A method for the isolation of listeria which enabled a more rapid detection of the organism was used to examine samples of silage and bird faeces. Faecal samples indicated that seagulls feeding at sewage works had a higher rate of carriage than those elsewhere. Faecal samples from rooks generally suggested a low incidence of listeria except on one occasion when eight of twenty samples contained Listeria monocytogenes: this coincided with the nesting season and the peak period for listeriosis in sheep. The incidence of L. monocytogenes in clamp silages ranged from 2.5–5.9%, but in samples of big bale silages the incidence was 22.2% and, when mouldy samples were selected, 44%.