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Salmonella Enteritidis Deposition in Eggs after Experimental Infection of Laying Hens with Different Oral Doses

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The continuing attribution of human Salmonella Enteritidis infections to internally contaminated eggs has necessitated the commitment of substantial public and private resources to Salmonella Enteritidis testing and control programs in commercial laying flocks. Cost-effective risk-reduction requires a detailed and comprehensive understanding of how Salmonella Enteritidis infections in hens result in deposition of the pathogen inside eggs. The present study sought to resolve some incompletely defined aspects of the relationship between Salmonella Enteritidis oral-exposure dose levels in experimentally infected laying hens and the frequency and location of subsequent egg contamination. In two trials, groups of specific-pathogen-free hens were experimentally inoculated with oral doses of 104, 106, or 108 CFU of a phage type 4 Salmonella Enteritidis strain. Eggs were collected 5 to 23 days postinoculation, and the yolk and albumen of each egg were cultured separately to detect Salmonella Enteritidis contamination. Larger oral doses of Salmonella Enteritidis administered to hens were associated with significant increases in the frequencies of both yolk and albumen contamination. Moreover, Salmonella Enteritidis was found in the albumen of a far-higher proportion of contaminated eggs from hens given the largest dose than from the other two groups. Salmonella Enteritidis contamination was detected in 0.7% of yolk and 0.2% of albumen samples after inoculation of hens with 104 CFU, 4.0% of yolk and 1.7% of albumen samples after inoculation with 106 CFU, and 6.5% of yolk and 10.8% of albumen samples after inoculation with 108 CFU. These results demonstrate that oral-exposure doses of Salmonella Enteritidis for laying hens can significantly affect both the frequency and location of deposition of this pathogen inside eggs.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit, Russell Research Center, 950 College Station Road, Athens, Georgia 30605, USA. 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit, Russell Research Center, 950 College Station Road, Athens, Georgia 30605, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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