Original Articles

Prevalence of Salmonella strains in wild animals from a highly populated area of north-eastern Italy


Introduction. Salmonella is a ubiquitous pathogen that can infect host species, like wild birds, rodents, and/or arthropods, which may transmit infection to domestic animals and human population. Aim. In order to assess the related risk, a cross-sectional study was performed on 1114 carcasses of wild animals from a north-eastern area of the Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy. Materials and methods. During post mortem examination, intestine samples were cultured. A statistical analysis demonstrated that there is no correlation between the presence of sub-clinically infected animals and greater human population density. In contrast, a significant correlation between the number of carcasses positive for Salmonella spp. and greater spatial density of pig, poultry, and cattle farms was observed (p < 0.01). Results. The results of the present study show that wild animals with omnivorous feeding habits are particularly exposed to Salmonella colonization and, consequently, to spreading the organism. Regarding drug resistance, this study confirms the resistance to antimicrobials is increasing in commensal and environmental isolates.



Salmonella; infection; wild animals; humans; risk

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