From January 2007 until June 2008, 504 reptiles of four families and 57 species were examined for Salmonella by using cloacal or intestinal swabs. Salmonella was identified in 139 (28%) of the 504 animals tested. Of the 504 reptiles examined, 210 were captive and 294 were wild. Ninety-eight (47%) of the captive reptiles were shedding Salmonella at the time of sampling. In contrast, only 41 (14%) of the wild reptiles were shedding Salmonella. The higher prevalence of Salmonella in captive reptiles was statistically significant (P<0.0001). No Salmonella was found in 60 wild, freshwater chelonians or 48 wild southern water skinks (Eulamprus heatwolei). Our results suggest that some species of wild reptiles in Australia are not natural carriers of Salmonella and that diet and captivity may influence Salmonella excretion in other species.
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Vol. 47 • No. 1