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Transmission dynamics of a multidrug-resistant Salmonella typhimurium outbreak in a dairy farm.

Abstract

Cattle are recognized as an important source of foodborne Salmonella causing human illness, particularly for antimicrobial-resistant strains. The transmission dynamics of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella after the onset of a clinical outbreak in a dairy farm has been rarely monitored. The early transmission of a pathogen influences the outbreak size and persistence of the pathogen at the farm level and, therefore, how long the herd represents a risk for Salmonella zoonotic transmission. The objective of this study was to describe the transmission dynamics of MDR Salmonella Typhimurium after the onset of a clinical outbreak in a dairy herd. For that purpose, fecal shedding and serological response to MDR Salmonella were monitored in a longitudinal study conducted in a dairy herd after a few cases of salmonellosis, and a stochastic transmission model was developed to predict Salmonella persistence at the pen level. The outbreak was limited to five clinical cases, and only 18 animals out of 500 cows shed Salmonella in feces. The longest shedder was culture-positive for Salmonella for at least 68 days. The isolates (n = 27) were represented by four pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns; three patterns were similar. With one exception, isolates were resistant to nine or more antimicrobial drugs. Simulations of the transmission model indicated that approximately 50% of the outbreaks were likely to die out within 20 days after the first animal was infected. The simulation studies indicated that salmonellosis outbreaks with few clinical cases were likely due to the extinction of the pathogen in the premises in the early phase of the outbreaks. Small population size and group structure within the farm decrease the on-farm persistence of the pathogen.

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