Ecology of Salmonella spp. in a southeastern watershed
Haley, Bradd Joseph
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Salmonella is primarily considered a zoonotic foodborne disease. However, outbreaks from contaminated water and produce-associated foodborne salmonellosis have increasingly been reported. These waterborne disease outbreaks may be caused by sewage or wastewater pollution due to human activities or urban and agricultural runoff. Moreover, storm events and climate variability have been shown to increase pathogen loads in surface waters, decrease water quality and precede disease outbreaks. In this study we investigated the seasonality of Salmonella densities and Salmonella serotype diversity in a southeastern watershed (Little River watershed). Our results show that salmonellae are ubiquitous in natural waters and their concentrations fluctuate seasonally and may be influenced by rainfall. We further demonstrate that Salmonella serotypes in natural waters demonstrate differential persistence which may influence the variability in environmental exposure routes and the observed seasonality of salmonellosis in this region.