Accumulation of resistance genes in Salmonella Typhimurium transmitted between poultry and dairy farms increases the risk to public health

Janet Perry, Katya Arnold, Cinthia Satuchne, Ori Koren, Gaby Kenigswald, Ehud Elnekave

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Salmonella Typhimurium is a zoonotic pathogen that poses a major threat to public health. This generalist serotype can be found in many hosts and the environment where varying selection pressures may result in the accumulation of antimicrobial resistance determinants. However, the transmission of this serotype between food-producing hosts, specifically between poultry layer flocks and nearby dairy herds, was never demonstrated. We investigated an outbreak at a dairy in Israel to determine the role of nearby poultry houses to be sources of infection. The 2-month outbreak resulted in a 47% mortality rate among 15 calves born in that period. Routine treatment of fluid therapy, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, and cefquinome was ineffective, and control was achieved by the introduction of vaccination of dry cows against Salmonella (Bovivac S, MSD Animal Health) and a strict colostrum regime. Whole genome sequencing and antimicrobial sensitivity tests were performed on S. Typhimurium strains isolated from the dairy (n = 4) and strains recovered from poultry layer farms (n = 10). We identified acquired antimicrobial-resistant genes, including the blaCTX-M-55 gene, conferring resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins, which was exclusive to dairy isolates. Genetic similarity with less than five single nucleotide polymorphism differences between dairy and poultry strains suggested a transmission link. This investigation highlights the severe impact of S. Typhimurium on dairy farms and the transmission risk from nearby poultry farms. The accumulation of potentially transferable genes conferring resistance to critically important antimicrobials underscores the increased public health risk associated with S. Typhimurium circulation between animal hosts.IMPORTANCESalmonella Typhimurium is one of the major causes of food-borne illness globally. Infections may result in severe invasive disease, in which antimicrobial treatment is warranted. Therefore, the emergence of multi-drug-resistant strains poses a significant challenge to successful treatment and is considered one of the major threats to global health. S. Typhimurium can be found in a variety of animal hosts and environments; however, its transmission between food-producing animals, specifically poultry layers flocks and dairy herds, was never studied. Here, we demonstrate the transmission of the pathogen from poultry to a nearby dairy farm. Alarmingly, the multi-drug-resistant strains collected during the outbreak in the dairy had acquired resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins, antibiotics critically important in treating Salmonellosis in humans. The findings of the study emphasize the increased risk to public health posed by zoonotic pathogens' circulation between animal hosts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0229723
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 18 Jun 2024


  • antimicrobial resistance
  • blaCTX-M-55 gene
  • extended-spectrum cephalosporins
  • multi-drug resistance
  • public health
  • Salmonella Typhimurium
  • zoonotic infections


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