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Pet Reptiles: A Potential Source of Transmission of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella

By Clara Marin, Laura Lorenzo-Rebenaque, Omar Laso, José Villora-Gonzalez, Santiago Vega

Category Journal Articles

Salmonella spp. is widely considered one of the most important zoonotic pathogens
worldwide. The close contact between reptiles and their owners provides favourable
conditions for the transmission of zoonotic pathogen infections, and ∼6% of human
salmonellosis cases are acquired after direct or indirect contact with reptiles. Moreover,
antimicrobial resistance is one of the most important health threats of the twenty-first
century and has been reported in Salmonella strains isolated from pet reptiles, which
could entail therapeutic consequences for their owners and breeders. The aim of
this study was to assess Salmonella carriage by pet reptiles in pet shops and
households, and their role in the transmission of antimicrobial resistance, to inform
the owners about the possible risks factors. During the period between January 2019
and December 2019, 54 reptiles from pet shops and 69 reptiles from households
were sampled in the Valencian Region (Eastern Spain). Three different sample types
were collected from each reptile: oral cavity, skin, and cloacal swabs. Salmonella
identification was based on ISO 6579-1:2017 (Annex D), serotyped in accordance
with Kauffman-White-Le-Minor technique, and antibiotic susceptibility was assessed
according to Decision 2013/652. The results of this study showed that 48% of the pet
reptiles examined from households and pet shops carry Salmonella spp. All the strains
isolated presented resistance to at least one antibiotic, and 72%were multidrug-resistant
strains, the most frequently observed resistance patterns being gentamicin-colistin and
gentamicin-colistin-ampicillin. The present study demonstrates that pet reptiles could be
a source of human multidrug-resistant Salmonella infection. In this context, the most
optimal prevention of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections necessarily involves strict
control of the sanitary status of reptile pet shops and hygienic handling by the individual
owners at home.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2021
Publication Title Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume 7
Pages 9
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2020.613718
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. One Health
  3. open access
  4. Pets and companion animals
  5. Reptiles
  6. Salmonella
  7. Zoonoses
  1. open access