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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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FDA Veterinarian Newsletter July/August 2001 Volume XVI, No IV

by M.L. Headrick (FDA-CVM, Athens, GA), L.A. Walker (FDA-CVM, Rockville, MD), and P.J. Fedorka-Cray (USDA-ARS-ARRU, Athens, GA)

The following is an abstract from a poster presented at the NARMS Scientific Meeting held March 15-16, 2001, in Rockville, MD.


One of the leading causes of acute gastroenteritis is infection with Salmonella species. The incidence of human salmonellosis infections associated with exposure to reptiles has increased in recent years and is partly attributed to the steadily increasing importation of Iguanas. Exotic pets appear to carry salmonellae as a commensal and are typically not treated when Salmonella is recovered. As part of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), we collected Salmonella isolates from diagnostic laboratories that were associated with recovery from exotic animals. Isolates were tested using a SensititreTM custom designed microtiter plate to determine minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for 17 antimicrobials. More resistance was observed in 1997 and 1999, which may be attributed to the higher number of isolates tested. Resistance, although minimal, was observed for Ampicillin, Kanamycin, Nalidixic Acid, Streptomycin, Sulfamethoxazole, Tetracycline, Ticarcillin (not tested in 1999) and Trimethoprim Sulfamethoxazole. The most frequent serotype recovered in each year was S. arizonae and resistance was noted for all three years. A wide number of other serotypes were recovered each year but no other serotype was recovered in each of the years. These data suggest that resistance is low among Salmonella serotypes associated with exotic pets. This increases the likelihood that patients requiring antimicrobial treatment for severe or septic salmonellosis will not be compromised. However, continued monitoring is warranted.

Dr. Headrick is an Epidemiologist with CVM's Division of Epidemiology stationed in Athens, Georgia. Dr. Walker is a Veterinary Medical Officer with CVM's Division of Epidemiology. Dr. Cray is Research Leader with USDA's, Antimicrobial Resistance Research Unit, Athens, Georgia.


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Issued by: FDA, Center for Veterinary Medicine

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Rockville, MD 20855