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Int J Environ Health Res. 2007 Apr;17(2):133-40.

Relationship between the contamination of gulls (Larus dominicanus) and oysters (Crassostrea gigas) with Salmonella serovar Typhimurium by PCR-RFLP.

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Laboratório de Virologia Aplicada, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Santa Catarina, Brazil.


Shellfish can bioaccumulate in their tissues pathogenic contaminants present in water and they have been related with several outbreaks of food-borne diseases worldwide. With their increased population in urban areas, gulls have been reported as an important source of water environment contamination. During a 10-month period, water, gulls feces and oyster samples were collected in a shellfish harvesting site and analyzed for total and fecal coliform counts (water) and Salmonella presence (gull feces and oyster meat). Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) was used to differentiate Salmonella species detected in gulls and oysters. Salmonella presence was detected in 3/10 of oyster samples and in 6/10 of gull feces samples by PCR. There was a relationship between Salmonella presence in oysters and fecal contamination in water. Restriction profiles of both gulls and oyster samples were similar to Salmonella Typhimurium profile by RFLP. These findings indicate strong evidence that gulls can contribute to Salmonella contamination of harvested oysters.

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