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Epidemic of salmonellosis in passerine birds in Switzerland with spillover to domestic cats


Giovannini, S; Pewsner, M; Hüssy, D; Hächler, H; Ryser-Degiorgis, M P; von Hirschheydt, J; Origgi, F C (2013). Epidemic of salmonellosis in passerine birds in Switzerland with spillover to domestic cats. Veterinary Pathology, 50:597-606.

Abstract

A die-off of passerine birds, mostly Eurasian siskins (Carduelis spinus), occurred in multiple areas of Switzerland between February and March 2010. Several of the dead birds were submitted for full necropsy. Bacteriological examination was carried out on multiple tissues of each bird. At gross examination, common findings were light-tan nodules, 1 to 4 mm in diameter, scattered through the esophagus/crop. Histologically, a necroulcerative transmural esophagitis/ingluvitis was observed. Bacterial cultures yielded Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium. At the same time, 2 pet clinics reported an unusual increase of domestic cats presented with fever, anorexia, occasionally dolent abdomen, and history of presumed consumption of passerine birds. Analysis of rectal swabs revealed the presence of S. Typhimurium in all tested cats. PFGE (pulsed field electrophoresis) analysis was performed to characterize and compare the bacterial isolates, and it revealed an indistinguishable pattern between all the avian and all but 1 of the feline isolates. Cloacal swabs collected from clinically healthy migrating Eurasian siskins (during autumn 2010) did not yield S. Typhimurium. The histological and bacteriological findings were consistent with a systemic infection caused by S. Typhimurium. Isolation of the same serovar from the dead birds and ill cats, along with the overlapping results of the PFGE analysis for all the animal species, confirmed a spillover from birds to cats through predation. The sudden increase of the number of siskins over the Swiss territory and their persistency during the whole winter of 2009-2010 is considered the most likely predisposing factor for the onset of the epidemic.

Abstract

A die-off of passerine birds, mostly Eurasian siskins (Carduelis spinus), occurred in multiple areas of Switzerland between February and March 2010. Several of the dead birds were submitted for full necropsy. Bacteriological examination was carried out on multiple tissues of each bird. At gross examination, common findings were light-tan nodules, 1 to 4 mm in diameter, scattered through the esophagus/crop. Histologically, a necroulcerative transmural esophagitis/ingluvitis was observed. Bacterial cultures yielded Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium. At the same time, 2 pet clinics reported an unusual increase of domestic cats presented with fever, anorexia, occasionally dolent abdomen, and history of presumed consumption of passerine birds. Analysis of rectal swabs revealed the presence of S. Typhimurium in all tested cats. PFGE (pulsed field electrophoresis) analysis was performed to characterize and compare the bacterial isolates, and it revealed an indistinguishable pattern between all the avian and all but 1 of the feline isolates. Cloacal swabs collected from clinically healthy migrating Eurasian siskins (during autumn 2010) did not yield S. Typhimurium. The histological and bacteriological findings were consistent with a systemic infection caused by S. Typhimurium. Isolation of the same serovar from the dead birds and ill cats, along with the overlapping results of the PFGE analysis for all the animal species, confirmed a spillover from birds to cats through predation. The sudden increase of the number of siskins over the Swiss territory and their persistency during the whole winter of 2009-2010 is considered the most likely predisposing factor for the onset of the epidemic.

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6 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Food Safety and Hygiene
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:17 Oct 2013 11:44
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:02
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:0300-9858
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0300985812465328
PubMed ID:23125146

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