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Salmonella in dairy cattle
Porks and chicken are thought to have the highest risk for salmomellosis. But in this recently published study from Australia the view is changing: It shows that dairy cattle pose the highest risk of all the slaughter-age animals tested - at least in Australia!

The objective of this study was to examine healthy slaughter-age cattle and sheep on-farm for the excretion of Salmonella serovars in faeces and to identify possible risk factors using a questionnaire.

The study involved 215 herds and flocks in the four eastern states of Australia, 56 with prior history of salmonellosis.

Production systems examined included pasture beef cattle, feedlot beef cattle, dairy cattle, prime lambs and mutton sheep and animals were all at slaughter age.

From each herd or flock, 25 animals were sampled and the samples pooled for Salmonella culture. All Salmonella isolated were serotyped and any Salmonella Typhimurium isolates were phage typed.

Questionnaires on each production system, prepared in Epi Info 6.04, were designed to identify risk factors associated with Salmonella spp excretion, with separate questionnaires designed for each production system.

Results: Salmonellae were identified in all production systems and were more commonly isolated from dairies and beef feedlots than other systems.

Statistical analysis revealed that dairy cattle were significantly more likely to shed Salmonella in faeces than pasture beef cattle, mutton sheep and prime lambs (P < 0.05).

A wide diversity of Salmonella serovars, all of which have been isolated from humans in Australia, was identified in both cattle and sheep.

Analysis of the questionnaires showed access to new arrivals was a significant risk factor for Salmonella excretion on dairy properties.

For beef feedlots, the presence of large numbers of flies in the feedlot pens or around stored manure were significant risk factors for Salmonella excretion.

Conclusion: Dairy cattle pose the highest risk of all the slaughter-age animals tested. Some of the identified risk factors can be overcome by improved management practices, especially in relation to hygiene.


Source: BA Vanselow, MA Hornitzky, KH Walker, GJ Eamens, GD Bailey, PA Gill, K Coates, B Corney, JP Cronin, S Renilson (2007): Salmonella and on-farm risk factors in healthy slaughter-age cattle and sheep in eastern Australia. In: Australian Veterinary Journal 85 (12), 498–502.


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