Epidemic of Salmonellosis in Passerine Birds in Switzerland With Spillover to Domestic Cats

Giovannini, Samoa; Pewsner, Mirjam Lea; Hüssy, Daniela; Hachler, H.; Degiorgis, Marie Pierre; Hirschheydt, J. v.; Origgi, Francesco (2013). Epidemic of Salmonellosis in Passerine Birds in Switzerland With Spillover to Domestic Cats. Veterinary pathology, 50(4), pp. 597-606. American College of Veterinary Pathologists 10.1177/0300985812465328

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A die-off of passerine birds, mostly Eurasian siskins (Carduelis spinus), occurred in multiple areas of Switzerland between February and March 2010. Several of the dead birds were submitted for full necropsy. Bacteriological examination was carried out on multiple tissues of each bird. At gross examination, common findings were light-tan nodules, 1 to 4 mm in diameter, scattered through the esophagus/crop. Histologically, a necroulcerative transmural esophagitis/ingluvitis was observed. Bacterial cultures yielded Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium. At the same time, 2 pet clinics reported an unusual increase of domestic cats presented with fever, anorexia, occasionally dolent abdomen, and history of presumed consumption of passerine birds. Analysis of rectal swabs revealed the presence of S. Typhimurium in all tested cats. PFGE (pulsed field electrophoresis) analysis was performed to characterize and compare the bacterial isolates, and it revealed an indistinguishable pattern between all the avian and all but 1 of the feline isolates. Cloacal swabs collected from clinically healthy migrating Eurasian siskins (during autumn 2010) did not yield S. Typhimurium. The histological and bacteriological findings were consistent with a systemic infection caused by S. Typhimurium. Isolation of the same serovar from the dead birds and ill cats, along with the overlapping results of the PFGE analysis for all the animal species, confirmed a spillover from birds to cats through predation. The sudden increase of the number of siskins over the Swiss territory and their persistency during the whole winter of 2009-2010 is considered the most likely predisposing factor for the onset of the epidemic.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > Veterinary Public Health / Herd Health Management
05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > Host-Pathogen Interaction
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Animal Pathology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Center for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI)

UniBE Contributor:

Giovannini, Samoa; Pewsner, Mirjam Lea; Hüssy, Daniela; Ryser, Marie Pierre and Origgi, Francesco

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

0300-9858

Publisher:

American College of Veterinary Pathologists

Language:

English

Submitter:

Susanne Portner

Date Deposited:

24 Mar 2014 10:34

Last Modified:

13 Feb 2015 08:37

Publisher DOI:

10.1177/0300985812465328

PubMed ID:

23125146

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Eurasian siskin, PFGE analysis, Switzerland, cat, crop, esophagus, feeding places, salmonellosis

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/43802

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