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A Case Study on Wild Birds: A Human Enteric Pathogens Transmission

Author(s): Mancini L, Marcheggiani S, D’angelo AM, Chiudioni F, Delibato E, Dionisi AM, Owczarek S, De Medici D, Ida Luzzi

Wild birds have been shown to be vectors for enteric pathogens, they may constitute an environmental carrier of pathogens representing a source of human infection. The study aims to evaluate the intestinal carriage of Salmonella spp, Campylobacter spp and Yersinia enterocolitica in wild birds in the Italian Regional Natural Park of “Lagolungo and Ripasottile” lakes. A total of 276 samples from 16 bird species were sampled and tested by classical cultural methods and the presence of Salmonella and Y. enterocolitica was detected, using real time PCR as screening methods. None of the fecal samples were positive for Y. enterocolitica. Campylobacter spp was isolated from 4 fecal specimens and Salmonella positive results were obtained from three avian species. Four different colonies of S. Napoli isolated from Cettia cetti were submitted to molecular typing by PFGE, all showing the same genetic pattern and sharing 70-80% homology with the 3 representative human isolates. One strain of S. Typhimurium from Nycticorax nyctcorax and one strain of S. Livingstone from Sylvia atricapilla were also isolated. Campylobacter spp. were isolated from Phylloscopus collybita, Cyanistes caeruleus, Prunella modularis, Carduelis chloris chloris. Wild birds, might cause the contamination of vegetables crops either directly with faecal material, or indirectly, with pollution of irrigation water. The study demonstrated that the molecular platforms to detect Salmonella and Y. enterocolitica seem to be very appealing as screening methods. Enteric pathogen circulation associated to wild fauna strictly linked to water ecosystems open new scenarios of management agricultural practices.

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