Prevalence of fecal shedding of Salmonella spp in dairy herds

Carla L. Huston, Thomas E. Wittum, Brenda C. Love, James E. Keen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Objective - To estimate prevalence of Salmonella spp in Ohio dairy farms and to identify potential risk factors for fecal shedding of salmonellae. Design - Cross-sectional study. Sample Population - 105 Ohio dairy farms. Procedure - Individual fecal samples from all mature cows in study herds were tested for Salmonella spp by use of standard bacteriologic culture procedures. Herds were identified as infected if at least 1 cow was shedding Salmonella spp. Information regarding herd characteristics, management practices, and health history were collected. Potential risk factors for herd-level Salmonella infection were identified. Results - In 31% of the study herds (95% confidence interval, 22 to 40%), at least 1 cow was shedding Salmonella spp. Six percent of 7,776 fecal samples contained Salmonella organisms; prevalence within infected herds ranged from < 1 to 97%. Herd size, use of free stalls for lactating and nonlactating cows, and use of straw bedding in nonlactating cows were significantly associated with fecal shedding of Salmonella spp, as determined by use of univariate analysis. By use of multivariate analysis, large herds were more likely to be infected than smaller herds; however, no other factors were associated with Salmonella infection after adjustment for herd size. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Subclinical shedding of Salmonella spp is common in Ohio dairy herds, although we could not identify specific interventions that may influence the prevalence of Salmonella spp on dairy farms. It appears that large herd size and intensive management may provide an environment conducive to Salmonella shedding and chronic dairy herd infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-649
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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