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Salmonella in grey seals

J. L. Baily, G. Foster, D. Brown, N. Davison, J. E. Coia, E. Watson and others

MICROBIAL pollution of the marine environment through land to sea transfer of human and livestock pathogens is a major global health concern, with Salmonella infection causing more than 90 million cases of clinical disease annually worldwide. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, serotypes and antimicrobial resistance of Salmonella species in free-ranging and stranded grey seal pups during the 2011 breeding season.

Rectal swabs were taken from 50 dead grey seal pups, 90 live grey seal pups and 19 live yearling grey seals at their natal colony over a six-week period in autumn 2011. Rectal swabs were concurrently taken from 26 stranded live pups arriving at a rehabilitation centre and nine pups that subsequently died. Three serotypes of Salmonella were isolated from the 194 rectal swabs collected and compared to strains from the same serovars isolated from human clinical cases, livestock, wild mammals and birds in Scotland to characterise possible transmission routes.

Salmonella enterica species Enterica was found in 21.1 per cent of live grey seal pups (37/175) but not in grey seal yearlings. …

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