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Detection of Salmonella enterica in a sand lizard (Lacerta agilis, Linnaeus, 1758) city population

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Salmonellosis is one of the most urgent public health problems across the world. Reptiles are a known reservoir of Salmonella spp. and in some regions they are also associated with human salmonellosis. This concerns especially popular pet reptiles, e.g., turtles or bearded dragons; however, there is also a need for studies regarding wild reptiles as a pathogen source. In this study, sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) were investigated as a potential reservoir of Salmonella spp. in Poznań, Poland, using cloacal swabs and faecal samples. Moreover, clonal analysis of the isolates was conducted using ERIC-PCR fingerprinting. Thirty eight lizards were investigated, nine of which (24%) proved positive for S. enterica subsp. houtenae. The prevalence level was lower than previously observed in exotic species (up to above 40%). Two clones were present in several lizards. Specimens with similar clones were captured at the same location and time, suggesting horizontal transfer of bacterial strains between lizards. Because the isolated subspecies of Salmonella is very rarely reported as a causative agent of human salmonellosis, sand lizards seem to pose little or no threat for public health.
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Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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