Dynamic Salmonella Shedding in a Collection of Zoo Reptiles
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012
Helle B. Hydeskov1,2, DVM, MRCVS; Luca Guardabassi2, DVM, PhD; Bent Aalbæk2, DVM; Katharina E.P. Olsen3, PharmD, PhD; Søren S. Nielsen4, DVM, PhD, DECVPH, DVSc; Mads F. Bertelsen1, DVM, DVSc, DACZM, DECZM
1Center for Zoo and Wild Animal Health, Copenhagen Zoo, Frederiksberg, Denmark; 2Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark; 3Department of Microbiological Diagnostics, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen S, Denmark; 4Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark


A Salmonella prevalence study was conducted on 200 reptiles at Copenhagen Zoo and followed up by a longitudinal study (n=83) within three weeks of the first sampling. The overall prevalence was found to be 35% (69/200) with significant differences noted between snakes (62%), chelonians (36%) and lizards (15%). The longitudinal study revealed that Salmonella fecal shedding status (positive or negative) changed in 25% (21/83) of the reptiles. A total of 30 serotypes were detected, and two different serotypes were isolated from 28% (10/36) of the reptiles testing positive in both sampling times. Sixteen serotypes were isolated more than once, and five of these were isolated from more than one species. Salmonella ser. Eastbourne was the predominant serotype in both the cross-sectional (22/69) and the longitudinal study (15/44). The data support the theory of dynamic Salmonella carriage and shedding.1


The authors thank the reptile staff at Copenhagen Zoo for assistance during the sampling.

Literature Cited

1.  Burnham, B.R., D.H. Atchley, R.P. DeFusco, K.E. Ferris, J.C. Zicarelli, J.H. Lee, and F.J. Angulo. 1998. Prevalence of fecal shedding of Salmonella organisms among captive green iguanas and potential public health implications. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 213:48–50.


Speaker Information
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Helle B. Hydeskov, DVM, MRCVS
Center for Zoo and Wild Animal Health
Copenhagen Zoo
Frederiksberg, Denmark

Department of Veterinary Disease Biology
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Copenhagen
Frederiksberg C, Denmark

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