Prevalence and Characterization ofSalmonellaIsolated from Feral Pigs Throughout Texas

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Feral pigs are one of the most abundant free-roaming ungulates in the United States, yet their role in the ecology and transmission of foodborne pathogens is poorly understood. Our objectives were to estimate the prevalence of Salmonella shedding among feral pigs throughout Texas, to identify risk factors for infection, and to characterize the isolates. Faecal samples were collected from feral pigs in Texas from June 2013 through May 2015. Standard bacteriologic culture methods were used to isolate Salmonella from samples, and isolates were characterized via serotyping and anti-microbial susceptibility testing. The prevalence of faecal Salmonella shedding among sampled pigs was 43.9% (194/442), with positive pigs originating from 50 counties. Pigs sampled during fall and summer were significantly more likely to be shedding Salmonella than pigs sampled during winter. High serovar diversity was evident among the isolates, and many of the detected serovars are leading causes of human salmonellosis. The most common serovars were Montevideo (10.0%), Newport (9.1%), and Give (8.2%). Resistance to anti-microbial agents was rare. The burgeoning feral pig population in the United States may represent an emerging threat to food safety.

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