Salmonella accounts for an estimated 1.4 million illnesses, resulting in 16,000 hospitalizations, and 582 deaths in the United States each year. The incidence of salmonellosis within the U.S. differs from state to state and in state. These differences cannot be explained entirely by differences in population density, cultural/ethnic customs, or food-distribution networks. These regional differences in disease incidence are also reflected in Salmonella serovar distribution. We do not know or understand what might explain this geographic scattering of Salmonella infection in the U.S. Part of the answer lies in identifying alternate reservoirs, such as pets. A better understanding of the transmission dynamics of Salmonella in pets will helps us understand the role of these unique companions, in the distribution dynamics of Salmonella and human illnesses. This proposal explores the role that the food sources of our pets, their lifestyle, human culture, and geographic region may have on the distribution of Salmonella serovars and strains in companion animals and ultimately in cases of human sporadic salmonellosis. We propose to do this by culturing fecal samples from symptomatic and asymptomatic dogs across GA. We will determine prevalence of Salmonella both in healthy and sick pets. Salmonella serovars and strains will be then typed and analyzed to determine if any correlations exists which the geographical location of the pets home, their lifestyle or any other characteristic present in our questionnaire.
Salmonella is a zoonotic agent that causes over a million illnesses in the U.S. alone. Although food sources are the main form of infection to humans, there is growing evidence that pets and their food are sources of Salmonella. Nevertheless, very little is known on the true prevalence of Salmonella in pets in the U.S. today. Understanding the epidemiology of Salmonella at the human-pet interface is crucial in understanding and ultimately reducing disease in people caused by Salmonella.