Source attribution of salmonellosis by time and geography in New South Wales, Australia




McLure, Angus
Shadbolt, Craig T
Desmarchelier, Patricia
Kirk, Martyn
Glass, Kathryn

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BioMed Central


Background: Salmonella is a major cause of zoonotic illness around the world, arising from direct or indirect contact with a range of animal reservoirs. In the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), salmonellosis is believed to be primarily foodborne, but the relative contribution of animal reservoirs is unknown. Methods: The analysis included 4543 serotyped isolates from animal reservoirs and 30,073 serotyped isolates from domestically acquired human cases in NSW between January 2008 and August 2019. We used a Bayesian source attribution methodology to estimate the proportion of foodborne Salmonella infections attributable to broiler chickens, layer chickens, ruminants, pigs, and an unknown or unsampled source. Additional analyses included covariates for four time periods and five levels of rurality. Results: A single serotype, S. Typhimurium, accounted for 65–75% of included cases during 2008–2014 but < 50% during 2017–2019. Attribution to layer chickens was highest during 2008–2010 (48.7%, 95% CrI 24.2–70.3%) but halved by 2017–2019 (23.1%, 95% CrI 5.7–38.9%) and was lower in the rural and remote populations than in the majority urban population. The proportion of cases attributed to the unsampled source was 11.3% (95% CrI 1.2%–22.1%) overall, but higher in rural and remote populations. The proportion of cases attributed to pork increased from approximately 20% in 2009–2016 to approximately 40% in 2017–2019, coinciding with a rise in cases due to Salmonella ser. 4,5,12:i:-. Conclusion: Layer chickens were likely the primary reservoir of domestically acquired Salmonella infections in NSW circa 2010, but attribution to the source declined contemporaneously with increased vaccination of layer flocks and tighter food safety regulations for the handling of eggs.



Salmonella infections, Source attribution, Foodborne disease, Gastroenteritis, Disease reservoir, Zoonosis, Bayesian analysis



BMC Infectious Diseases


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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License



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