A study of randomly selected dairy farms in England and Wales was made between October 1999 and February 2001 to estimate the prevalence and incidence of Salmonella serovars. The farms were enrolled through five milk-buying companies, which represented 63 per cent of the dairy farms in England and Wales, and they were sampled on up to four occasions (449 farms at visit 1, 272 farms at visit 2, 251 farms at visit 3 and 243 farms at visit 4). In total, 19,296 samples of pooled faecal pats and slurry were collected. The farm-specific prevalence of all serovars of Salmonella ranged from 12·1 per cent (95 per cent confidence interval [CI] 8·2 to 16·0 per cent) to 24·7 per cent (95 per cent CI 19·4 to 30·1 per cent) at each visit. The most common serovars identified were Salmonella Dublin (3·7 to 6·6 per cent farm-specific prevalence at each visit), Salmonella Agama (1·8 to 7·6 per cent) and Salmonella Typhimurium (2·6 to 4·1 per cent ) The prevalence varied by region and month of sampling and increased in late summer. The incidence rate of all serovars of Salmonella was 0·43 (95 per cent CI 0·34 to 0·54) cases per farm-year at risk. There was no significant difference between the incidence rates of the common serovars S Typhimurium (0·07), S Dublin (0·06) and S Agama (0·13). A total of 29 Salmonella serovars were isolated. Few of the isolates were resistant to the 16 antimicrobial agents tested, except the isolates of S Typhimurium DT104, of which 67·9 per cent were resistant to a least five of them.
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Mr Pascoe’s present address is Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Unit, Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT