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American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Infectious Disease Committee Manual 2013


Transmission Clinical
Severity Treatment Prevention
and Control
direct contact
by infected
animals or
indirectly via
arthropods, or
feed, and
with vomiting,
and diarrhea.
lethargy, weight
loss, pyrexia,
and ocular
Severe acute
meningitis or
Varies from
carriage to
and death.
form often is
fatal without
prior or
clinical signs.
limits on
transport and
contact with
such as
Pest control
nutrition and
immunity for

depending on
Fact Sheet compiled by: Cornelia J. Ketz-Riley
Sheet completed on: 29 October 2010; updated 24 July 2013
Fact Sheet Reviewed by: Anna Catharina Berge; Meredith M. Clancy; Franklyn Garry
Susceptible animal groups: Non-typhoidal salmonellosis causes natural infection in all taxa of vertebrates
and in some invertebrates. Reptiles are important carriers, and multiple exotic pet species have been
implicated in human disease outbreaks. Only humans are, susceptible to S. typhi, the causative agent of
Causative organism: Family: Enterobacteriaceae; Genus: Salmonella, with three species:
-S. typhi -- not detailed in depth in this fact sheet
-S. enterica (formerly cholerasuis), with 6 subspecies:
- S. enterica subspecies enterica (I)
- S. enterica subspecies salamae (II)
- S. enterica subspecies arizonae (IIIa)
- S. enterica subspecies diarizonae (IIIb)
- S. enterica subspecies houtenae (IV)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Infectious Disease Committee Manual 2013

- S. enterica subspecies indica (VI)
- S. bongori, formerly S. enterica subspecies V
Over 2500 serovars of S. enterica exist, each distinguished by their O and H antigen; serotypes of subspecies I
are often named after first geographical and/or species-specific appearance. Serotypes belonging to subspecies
IIIa and IIIb were formerly grouped in the genus Arizona. The species name for S. enterica was recently
approved. All of these changes and the constant discovery and isolation of new serotypes can cause
confusion. For clarity, the CDC, WHO, and Institut Pasteur all use the Kauffman-White scheme, found at:
Zoonotic potential: High, but it does depend on infecting serovar.
Distribution: Worldwide.
Incubation period: Generally 1-4 days.
Clinical signs:
Acute: Gastroenteritis, pneumonia, lethargy, pyrexia, and anorexia.
Severe/septicemic: anorexia, lethargy, headache, pyrexia, polydipsia, dehydration, petechial hemorrhages on
cutaneous and mucosal surfaces, joint pain (polyarthritis), abdominal pain (polyserositis), respiratory signs
(bronchopneumonia), neurological signs (meningitis, meningoencephalitis); death possible
Chronic: reduced productivity such as egg and milk production, suppressed growth, decreased fertility,
decreased hatchability, and abortion.
Post mortem, gross, or histologic findings: Most common findings during gross necropsy include signs of
dehydration, gastroenteritis, hepatomegaly with or without military white foci, splenomegaly, and mesenteric
lymphadenopathy. Pneumonia can be observed more often in birds and calves. In cases of septicemia,
petechial hemorrhages can occur in multiple organs, with muscular necrosis typically involving myocardial
and gizzard (in avian species) muscle, nephropathy, polyserositis, and synovitis commonly found.
Histopathological findings include multifocal necrotic hepatitis, necrosis of cryptic or surface enterocytes in
lower small intestines, cecum and colon, depending on species involved.
Diagnosis: Culture of fresh fecal material is still the most commonly used diagnostic tool to detect Salmonella
shedding. Pre-enrichment media prior to plating is recommended to enhance the ability to recover Salmonella.
Selective media are used for identification of Salmonella sp., including MacConkey, Tetrathionate, Triple-
Sugar-iron, and Xylose-Lysin-Desoxycholate.
Serological and immunohistochemical methods are commonly used to identify Salmonella species and
serotypes involved in disease process. These methods are essential when a Salmonella infection is suspected,
and when isolation of live organisms by culturing is not possible. ELISA and similar modified assays for
antibody reactions against Salmonella types in individuals is used in surveillance programs. Serological
examinations can be used to establish presence of Salmonella on herd basis, but are not reliable for individual
animal status identification.
PCR is used to recover Salmonella DNA in live material (including produce, food particles, meat, egg shells),
or dead surfaces. PCR is also used for further classification of Salmonella serotypes. Ongoing research is
conducted involving more refined molecular and genetic identification methods (nested PCR, real time micro
PCR, multiplex PCR, 16S rRNA PCR-high-resolution melt analysis, one-step triplex high-resolution melting
analysis, multiplex Luminex-based molecular assay, nucleic acid sequence-based amplification method,
immune-gold nanoparticle network ELISA, anti-O12 monoclonal antibody in TUBEX test) for serotyping and
virulence testing.
Material required for laboratory analysis: For culture, feces, organ tissue, whole blood, milk or other environmental
material are recommended. For ELISA and other serologic assays, feces, organ tissue, serum, food, milk, and water
may be used. Tissue, feces, whole blood, soil, or processed food can be used for PCR testing.
Relevant diagnostic laboratories: Any laboratory that is set up for culture methods can be used for first
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Infectious Disease Committee Manual 2013

screening for Salmonella. Serotyping via serological methods and PCR are offered by most medical
laboratories specialized in infectious disease diagnostics, or the National Veterinary Services Laboratories.
Treatment: Mild infections are self-limiting and are only treated with supportive care, such as rehydration,
electrolytes and analgesics. Antibiotic therapy is controversial as elimination is rare, re-infection common,
and creation of a carrier state a likely outcome. Animals treated with antibiotics have shown prolonged
bacterial shedding post- treatment. Antibiotics should be used only in cases of severe acute and life-
threatening infection, when a subsequent bacteremia is anticipated, mainly in immunocompromised and young
individuals. If antibiotics are used a long-term treatment for up to three weeks is to be considered.
The choice of antibiotics should be based on culture and sensitivity. Recommended antibiotics include:
floroquinolones, tetracyclines, clindamycin, erythromycin, ampicillin, amoxicillin, gentamicin, streptomycin,
and trimethoprim/sulfonamides. Frequent use of antibiotics may have contributed to the development of
multidrug resistance of many Salmonella serotypes. Resistance to antibiotics including fluoroquinolones
ceftriaxone, and azithromycinis becoming more common and has been documented around the globe and has
become more common over the last decade, especially in human cases of nontyphoidal salmonellosis in
developing nations.
Prevention and control: Eradication difficult due to asymptomatic carriers. Preventive control programs
should consist of a good sanitation protocol and appropriate animal collection management. Multiple non-
pharmaceutical therapeutic measures, including food and water additives such as probiotics have been tried to
increase intestinal immunity. Vaccination is not possible for most taxa of animals, although vaccines exist for
production animals (poultry, cattle, and swine), and vaccine development is on-going. Appropriate education
regarding sanitation and potential risks of contamination should be provided to all persons involved in animal
care or food processing.
Suggested disinfectant for housing facilities: Most commonly used disinfectants, such as diluted
hypochlorite, quaternary ammonium based products are effective against Salmonella bacteria.
Notification: Multiple serotypes cause reportable disease:
- Fowl Typhoid and Pullorum (both serotype Gallinarum), reportable to USDA and OIE
- Salmonella Abortusovis, reportable to OIE
- Salmonella Dublin, reportable in Alberta
Positive Salmonella cultures are reported by diagnostic laboratories to appropriate authorities based on
serotype identified, as seen here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/f0da010d-d0f4-423f-9b2a-
Measures required under the Animal Disease Surveillance Plan: Salmonellosis is part of the National
Animal Disease Surveillance Plan, due to its importance as a foodborne bacterial illness. Specific measures
required depend on the animal species and nature of the outbreak. .
Measures required for introducing animals to infected animal: Regular quarantine in a clean
environment; reduce access to host animals; separate tools and personnel for quarantined animals; fecal
culture as preshipment evaluation and quarantine examination before introduction.
Conditions for restoring disease-free status after an outbreak: Quarantine of whole collection; isolation of
sick and potentially infected animals; testing of any potentially contaminated feed, water, surface and also
healthy animals, as well as personnel, before giving access to previously contaminated area. Multiple cultures
of potentially infected animals necessary due to inconsistent shedding of bacteria.
Experts who may be consulted:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Infectious Disease Committee Manual 2013


USDAAPHISVSCenter for Epidemiology and Animal Health
NRRC Building B, M.S. 2E7
2150 Centre Avenue
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117
E-mail: NAHMS@aphis.usda.gov
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American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Infectious Disease Committee Manual 2013

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