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Cats as a Risk for Transmission of Antimicrobial Drug-resistant Salmonella

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Publication Date
DOI: 10.3201/eid1012.040904
  • Research
  • Medicine


To determine whether cats were a risk for transmission of Salmonella to humans, we evaluated the excretion of Salmonella by pet cats. Rectal-swab specimens were taken from 278 healthy house cats, from 58 cats that died of disease, and from 35 group-housed cats. Group-housed cats were kept in one room with three cat trays and a common water and feed tray. Eighteen (51.4%) of 35 group-housed cats, 5 (8.6%) of 58 diseased cats (5/58), and 1 (0.36%) of 278 healthy house cats excreted Salmonella. Salmonella isolates were of serotypes Typhimurium, Enteritidis, Bovismorbificans and 4:i:-. Acquired antimicrobial resistance was found in serotype Typhimurium (resistance to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline; to ampicillin; and to chloramphenicol) and 4:i:- strains (resistance to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, sulfonamides, trimethoprim, and sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim). Cats that excrete Salmonella can pose a public health hazard to people who are highly susceptible to Salmonella, such as children, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons.

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