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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Salmonella isolated from individual reptiles and environmental samples from terraria in private households in Sweden

Wikström, Veronica O.; Fernström, Lise-Lotte; Melin, Lennart; Boqvist, Sofia

Abstract

Background: This study investigates Salmonella spp. isolated from privately kept reptiles and from environmental samples such as bedding materials or water from the floor of the enclosures (terraria). It also compares isolation of Salmonella using Modified Semisolid Rappaport-Vassiliadis (MSRV) medium or selective enrichment in Rappaport-Vassiliadis-Soya (RVS) pepton broth. Cloacal swabs or swabs from the cloacal area were collected from 63 individual reptiles belonging to 14 households. All reptiles were from different terraria and from 62 of these, environmental samples were also collected. Sampling were done by the reptile owners according to written instructions and sent by mail immediately after sampling. All but three samples were analyzed within 24 h after collection. Colonies suspected for Salmonella were tested for agglutination and serotyped using the White-Kauffmann-Le Minor scheme. The relative sensitivity (se) and specificity (sp) for MSRV compared with RVS, and the agreement coefficient kappa (kappa) were calculated.Results: Salmonella was isolated from 50/63 (80%) terraria, either from the reptiles (31/63; 49%) or from bedding material (39/62; 63%). The most common subspecies was Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica followed by S. enterica subspecies diarizonae. In reptiles, the most common S. enterica subspecies enterica serovars were Java (n = 4) and Fluntern (n = 4), compared with the serovars Tennessee (n = 10) and Fluntern (n = 10) in the environmental samples. The exact same set of Salmonella subspecies and serovars were not isolated from the individual reptiles and the environmental samples from any of the households. Isolation using MSRV yielded more Salmonella isolates 61/113 (54%) than enrichment in RVS 57/125 (46%). The se was 97.9% (95% Confidence Interval 93.9-100), the sp 78.5% (95% CI 68.5-88.5) and the. 0.74, indicating substantial agreement between the tests.Conclusions: Salmonella can be expected to be present in environments where reptiles are kept. This constitutes public health risks and should be considered during handling of the reptiles and during cleaning and disposal of bedding. A combination of different culturing techniques may be used to increase the isolation rate.

Keywords

Salmonella; Reptile; Public health; Bacteriological culture; Environmental samples; Cloacal samples

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2014, Volume: 56, article number: 7
Publisher: BIOMED CENTRAL LTD