Characterization of Salmonella Occurring at High Prevalence in a Population of the Land Iguana Conolophus subcristatus in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Alessia Franco, Rene S. Hendriksen, Serena Lorenzetti, Roberta Onorati, Gabriele Gentile, Giacomo Dell'Omo, Frank Møller Aarestrup, Antonio Battisti

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to elucidate the association between the zoonotic pathogen Salmonella and a population of land iguana, Colonophus subcristatus, endemic to Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. We assessed the presence of Salmonella subspecies and serovars and estimated the prevalence of the pathogen in that population. Additionally, we investigated the genetic relatedness among isolates and serovars utilising pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) on XbaI-digested DNA and determined the antimicrobial susceptibility to a panel of antimicrobials. The study was carried out by sampling cloacal swabs from animals (n = 63) in their natural environment on in the island of Santa Cruz. A high prevalence (62/63, 98.4%) was observed with heterogeneity of Salmonella subspecies and serovars, all known to be associated with reptiles and with reptile-associated salomonellosis in humans. Serotyping revealed 14 different serovars among four Salmonella enterica subspecies: S. enterica subsp. enterica (n = 48), S. enterica subsp. salamae (n = 2), S. enterica subsp. diarizonae (n = 1), and S. enterica subsp. houtenae (n = 7). Four serovars were predominant: S. Poona (n = 18), S. Pomona (n = 10), S. Abaetetuba (n = 8), and S. Newport (n = 5). The S. Poona isolates revealed nine unique XbaI PFGE patterns, with 15 isolates showing a similarity of 70%. Nine S. Pomona isolates had a similarity of 84%. One main cluster with seven (88%) indistinguishable isolates of S. Abaetetuba was observed. All the Salmonella isolates were pan-susceptible to antimicrobials representative of the most relevant therapeutic classes. The high prevalence and absence of clinical signs suggest a natural interaction of the different Salmonella serovars with the host species. The interaction may have been established before any possible exposure of the iguanas and the biocenosis to direct or indirect environmental factors influenced by the use of antimicrobials in agriculture, in human medicine or in veterinary medicine.
Original languageEnglish
JournalP L o S One
Volume6
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)-
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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