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Open Access Molecular epidemiology of Salmonella gallinarum in chickens in Tanzania

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A molecular epidemiological investigation of Salmonella gallinarum infection in scavenging local chickens and commercial layers in Tanzania was conducted between August 1997 and April 1998. A total of 1152 chickens were randomly selected from 10 villages and seven commercial farms. For serological and cultural prevalence studies, 1152 blood samples and 912 cloacal swabs were collected. In scavenging local chickens, the individual serological and cultural prevalences were 6.3 and 0%, while the prevalences were significantly higher in commercial layers at 18.4 and 2.6% ( P < 0.001), respectively. The risk of infection in flocks of scavenging local chickens that had contact with commercial chickens was six times greater than the risk of infection in flocks of scavenging local chickens that had no contact with commercial chickens. Thirty-four S. gallinarum isolated from commercial chickens in this study, together with 29 Tanzanian historical isolates, were characterized using plasmid profiling and ribotyping. Fifty-one isolates contained both 85 and 2.5kb plasmids, five isolates contained only one plasmid of 85kb, and seven isolates had no plasmids. Ribotyping using HindIII restriction endonuclease demonstrated seven different ribotypes. Forty-seven isolates had similar results in both typing systems, suggesting they belonged to one clone. It is concluded that S. gallinarum infection in chickens in Tanzania is more prevalent in commercial layers than in scavenging local chickens. One strain of S. gallinarum from chickens first isolated in a Dar es Salaam hatchery was found to be common throughout the country.

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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Parasitology, Sokoine University of Agriculture, PO Box 3019, Morogoro, Tanzania 2: Department of Veterinary Microbiology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Stigbøjlen 4, 1870, Frederiksberg C, Denmark

Publication date: October 1, 2000

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