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Institute of Bacterial Infections and Zoonoses (IBIZ)

National Reference Laboratory for Salmonellosis in Cattle

Salmonellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Salmonella (S.). The disease occurs in both animals and humans and represents one of the most important zoonoses.

The genus Salmonella (of the family Enterobacteriaceae) consists of the species S. enterica and the species S. bongori. The species S. enterica is further divided into 6 subspecies: S. enterica subsp. enterica, S. enterica subsp. salamae, S. enterica subsp. arizonae, S. enterica subsp. diarizonae, S. enterica subsp. houtenae, and S. enterica subsp. indica. Only serovars belonging to S. enterica subsp. enterica are designated by a name usually related to the geographical place where this serovar was first isolated. This name is written in roman rather than italics and the first letter is a capital letter. The complete name is e. g. Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium, as short name Salmonella Typhimurium is used. Serovars belonging to other subspecies are designated by their antigenic formula, following the subspecies name. The antigenic formulae of all Salmonella serovars are listed in the document called Kauffmann-White scheme.

In Germany Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Typhimurium variatio copenhagen are the most important serovars responsible for Salmonella outbreaks in cattle. In recent years both serovars caused ca. 50 % of the officially confirmed outbreaks of bovine salmonellosis. The cattle-adapted serovar Salmonella Dublin caused about 25 % of the registered Salmonella outbreaks in Germany. 7 % to 11 % of the outbreaks were produced by the serovar Salmonella Abortus-bovis (new nomenclature Salmonella Abony) und ca. 2 % to 5 % by Salmonella Enteritidis. All other serovars together were the reason for about 10 % of the registered outbreaks of Salmonella in cattle, however, none of the single serovars reached a share of 1 %.

The German Regulation „Verordnung zum Schutz gegen die Salmonellose der Rinder (Rinder-Salmonellose-Verordnung) in der Fassung der Bek. vom 14. November 1991 (BGBl. I S. 2118)“ determines the measures which have to be undertaken in the cattle herd after official confirmation of the Salmonella outbreak by the competent authority.

Salmonella infections in human population caused by bovine derived products are of low importance. However, it must be stated that consumption of raw products from cattle herds with Salmonella infections represents an important health risk, especially for children, pregnant woman, elderly and immunocompromised people.

  • Collaboration with investigation centres in the federal states
  • Detection of salmonellae from different sample material
  • Differentiation and typing of salmonellae (in collaboration with the National Reference Laboratory for Salmonella)
  • Studies on improving methods for primary Salmonella detection
  • Studies on epidemiology and control of Salmonella infections in cattle herds (sources of infection, transmission, persistence)
  • Studies on efficacy of control measures introduced after official confirmation of Salmonella outbreaks