Epidemiology of Subclinical Salmonellosis in Wild Birds from an Area of High Prevalence of Pig Salmonellosis: Phenotypic and Genetic Profiles of Salmonella Isolates


R. C. Mainar-Jaime. Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón (CITA). Avda. Montañana 930, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain. Tel.: +34976716455; Fax: +34976716335; E-mail: rcmainar@aragon.es


The epidemiology of subclinical salmonellosis in wild birds in a region of high Salmonella prevalence in pigs was studied. Three hundred and seventy-nine faecal samples from 921 birds trapped in 31 locations nearby pig premises, and 431 samples from 581 birds of 10 natural settings far from pig farms were analysed for the presence of Salmonella spp. Positive samples were serotyped and analysed for antimicrobial resistance (AR). Phage typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) on Salmonella Typhimurium isolates were also carried out. The overall proportion of Salmonella-positive samples was 1.85% (95% CI = 0.93, 2.77). Salmonella isolation was positively associated with samples collected from birds in the proximity of a pig operation (OR = 16.5; 95% CI = 5.17, 52.65), and from non-migratory (or short-distance migration) birds (OR = 7.6; 95% CI = 1.20, 48.04) and negatively related to mostly granivorous birds (OR = 0.4; 95% CI = 0.15, 1.13). Salmonella Typhimurium was the most prevalent serotype and four different XbaI PFGE patterns were observed that matched the four phage types identified (U310, U311, DT164 and DT56). Only 20% of the strains showed multi-AR. In three farms, a high degree of homogeneity among isolates from different birds was observed. These findings suggested that pig farms may act as amplifiers of this infection among wild birds, and the degree of bird density may have much to do on this transmission. Some of the Salmonella serotypes isolated from bird faeces were of potential zoonotic transmission and associated with AR. Monitoring salmonellosis in wild bird is advised.