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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MICROBIAL INTERACTIONS AND INTERVENTIONS TO REDUCE TRANSMISSION OF FOODBORNE PATHOGENS THROUGH POULTRY Title: Investigation and characterization of the frozen feeder rodent industry in Texas following a multi-state Salmonella typhimurium outbreak associated with frozen vacuum-packed rodents

Authors
item Lee, K - TX AGRICULTURAL EXPER STA
item McReynolds, Jackson
item Fuller, C - MINNESOTA DEPT OF HEALTH
item Jones, B - TX AGRICULTURAL EXPER STA
item Herrman, T - TX AGRICULTURAL EXPER STA
item Byrd, James
item Runyon, M - TX AGRICULTURAL EXPER STA

Submitted to: Zoonoses and Public Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 14, 2008
Publication Date: June 14, 2008
Citation: Lee, K.M., McReynolds, J.L., Fuller, C.C., Jones, B., Herrman, T.J., Byrd, J.A., Runyon, M. 2008. Investigation and characterization of the frozen feeder rodent industry in Texas following a multi-state Salmonella typhimurium outbreak associated with frozen vacuum-packed rodents. Zoonoses and Public Health. 55:488-496.

Interpretive Summary: Salmonella bacteria can cause illness and death in humans. Salmonella can be transmitted to humans through the feeding of pet animals such as snakes. In this study we evaluated a frozen feeder rodent facility to see if the rodents were contaminated with Salmonella. We found seven samples that tested positive in the environmental samples taken from the facility. We also found one rodent to be contaminated with Salmonella. In a subsequent study we found seven more rodents to test positive for Salmonella. The feeder rodent industry is an insufficiently recognized industry in the United States. Outbreak investigation and testing of additional feeder rodent facilities indicate that in Texas further evaluation of feeder rodent facilities as a source of Salmonella for pet snakes and humans is warranted.

Technical Abstract: A Salmonella outbreak investigation identified a frozen feeder rodent facility (Supplier A) served as the vector of a pathogenic Salmonella strain for pet snakes and humans. From Supplier A, seven Salmonella positive samples out of 45 environmental swabs were found, and only one adult mouse out of 88 frozen feeder rodents were Salmonella-positive by culture. No Salmonella strains were isolated from rodent feed. The pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) subtype patterns of Salmonella Typhimurium isolates from feeder rodent and environment samples were indistinguishable from the outbreak strain isolated from humans. A follow-up investigation was performed on all the additional feeder rodent facilities identified in Texas. A Salmonella serotype was isolated at one of four facilities and seven of 100 rodent samples were positive for Salmonella at this facility. The strain S I 4,[5],12:i:- was isolated from seven feeder rodent samples and PFGE patterns of the seven isolates were indistinguishable. As was observed in the initial outbreak investigation, no Salmonella were cultured from rodent feed at any of the facilities. The feeder rodent industry is an insufficiently recognized industry in the United States. Outbreak investigation and testing of additional feeder rodent facilities indicate that in Texas further evaluation of feeder rodent facilities as a source of Salmonella for pet snakes and humans is warranted.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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