Postmortem examinations were carried out on the carcases of 779 wild birds. Salmonellosis was a common cause of death in greenfinches (Carduelis chloris), house sparrows (Passer domesticus) and chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs), and was also responsible for the deaths of other birds such as goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis), feral pigeons and different species of gulls. Most cases of salmonellosis in finches occurred between January and March, whereas salmonellosis in house sparrows tended to occur between October and March. Salmonella Typhimurium DT40 and DT56 (variant) predominated in finches and sparrows, DT41 and DT195 were the most common strains isolated from gulls, and DT2 and DT99 were recovered from feral pigeons. These ‘wild bird’ strains of Salmonella made up less than 0·5 per cent of the isolates of Salmonella recovered from cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens or turkeys in Great Britain over the same period, but they made up nearly 3 per cent of the isolates from more extensively reared avian livestock such as gamebirds, ducks and geese.
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