Salmonellosis was diagnosed in garden birds from 198 incidents in Scotland between September 1995 and August 2008. Salmonellosis was essentially a disease of finches in the north of Scotland, but in the south of Scotland it was also a problem in house sparrows. Almost all of the incidents were caused by Salmonella Typhimurium phage types 40 or 56/variant, but regional variation in phage types was observed. In the north of Scotland, one phage type (DT 40) predominated, but in the south of Scotland two phage types were commonly isolated (DTs 40 and 56/variant, with the latter the more common of the two phage types). This regional difference was statistically significant for salmonellosis in greenfinches, chaffinches and ‘other garden birds’, but not for house sparrows. Different temporal patterns for different species of bird and different phage types were also observed within regions. These findings suggest that the epidemiology of salmonellosis in garden birds varies depending on the phage type of Salmonella and the species of garden bird, with additional regional differences depending on the wild bird populations and the phage types of Salmonella in circulation. An awareness of these differences will help when formulating guidelines aimed at reducing the impact of salmonellosis in garden birds.
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