High Prevalence of Salmonella in Tegu Lizards (Tupinambis merianae), and Susceptibility of the Serotypes to Antibiotics


Rachel Passos Rezende, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, UESC – Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Rod. Ilhéus-Itabuna, Km 16 – Salobrinho, Ilhéus – BA 45650-000, Brazil. Tel.: (+55) 73-3680-5435; Fax: (+55) 73-3680-5226; E-mail: rachel@uesc.br


Species of tegu (Tupinambis) are the largest lizards in South America. Large numbers of these lizards are hunted; there is a vigorous trade in their skins and the meat is consumed by rural and native peoples. The animals are also bred in captivity, an economic activity for rural populations which can help in the animals’ conservation. Faecal samples from 30 captive-born tegus were analysed for the presence of Salmonella in two separate samplings. In the first analysis, samples from 26 animals (87%) yielded Salmonella enterica of which 23% were of Rubislaw serotype; 20% Carrau and Agona serotypes; 7% Infantis and Saint-Paul serotypes; 3% Panama and Brandenburg serotypes; 10% were S. enterica subsp. enterica and 7% were rough form. In the second analysis, four tegus (13%) which had been negative in the first sampling were positive, thus, 100% of the animals studied carried the bacterium. Antibiotic susceptibility showed resistance to sulfonamide in 82% of the isolates, streptomycin in 64%, tetracycline in 6% and Chloramphenicol in 20%. Two animals carried strains of the same serotype with different patterns of antibiotic susceptibility. Although it is well known that reptiles are a significant source of Salmonella, to our knowledge, its prevalence in tegu has not been studied previously.