Transmission of Salmonella between wildlife and meat-production animals in Denmark

Aims: To investigate the transmission of Salmonella spp. between production animals (pigs and cattle) and wildlife on production animal farms in Denmark. Methods and Results: In the winter and summer of 2001 and 2002, 3622 samples were collected from Salmonella-infected and noninfected herds of pigs and cattle and surrounding wildlife. Salmonella was detected in wildlife on farms carrying Salmonella-positive production animals and only during the periods when Salmonella was detected in the production animals. The presence of Salmonella Typhimurium in wild birds significantly correlated to their migration pattern and food preference. Conclusions: Salmonella was transmitted from infected herds of production animals (cattle and pigs) to wildlife that lived amongst or in close proximity to them. Significance and Impact of the Study: Salmonella in animal food products is associated with the occurrence of Salmonella in primary animal production. Strategies to control the introduction and spread of infection should include wildlife management, as the nearby wildlife may act as reservoirs for Salmonella spp. and / or may be passive carriers of the bacteria.