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Avian Dis. 2004 Dec;48(4):863-9.

Colonization of reproductive organs and internal contamination of eggs after experimental infection of laying hens with Salmonella heidelberg and Salmonella enteritidis.

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  • 1USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, 934 College Station Road, Athens, GA 30605, USA.


Internal contamination of eggs laid by hens infected with Salmonella enteritidis has been a prominent international public health issue since the mid-1980s. Considerable resources have been committed to detecting and controlling S. enteritidis infections in commercial laying flocks. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported a significant association between eggs or egg-containing foods and S. heidelberg infections in humans. The present study sought to determine whether several S. heidelberg isolates obtained from egg-associated human disease outbreaks were able to colonize reproductive tissues and be deposited inside eggs laid by experimentally infected hens in a manner similar to the previously documented behavior of S. enteritidis. In two trials, groups of laying hens were orally inoculated with large doses of four S. heidelberg strains and an S. enteritidis strain that consistently caused egg contamination in previous studies. All five Salmonella strains (of both serotypes) colonized the intestinal tracts and invaded the livers, spleens, ovaries, and oviducts of inoculated hens, with no significant differences observed between the strains for any of these parameters. All four S. heidelberg strains were recovered from the interior liquid contents of eggs laid by infected hens, although at lower frequencies (between 1.1% and 4.5%) than the S. enteritidis strain (7.0%).

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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