Molecular detection of the index case of a subclinical Salmonella Kentucky epidemic on a dairy farm

B. J. Haley, M. Allard, E. Brown, E. Hovingh, J. S. Karns, J. S. Van Kessel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Salmonella enterica commonly colonizes the intestinal tract of cattle and is a leading cause of foodborne illness. A previously described investigation into the prevalence of S. enterica on a dairy farm revealed an 8-year-long asymptomatic S. enterica epidemic caused by serotypes Cerro and Kentucky in the lactating herd. To investigate the source of the S. Kentucky strains, the genomes of two S. Kentucky isolates were sequenced; one collected prior to the epidemic (2004) and one collected during the epidemic (2010). Comparative genomic analysis demonstrated significant polymorphisms between the two strains. PCR primers targeting unique and strain-specific regions were developed, and screening of the archived isolates identified the index case of the asymptomatic S. Kentucky epidemic as a heifer that was raised off-site and transported onto the study farm in 2005. Analysis of isolates collected from all heifers brought onto the farm demonstrated frequent re-introduction of clones of the epidemic strain suggesting transmission of pathogens between farms might occur repeatedly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-686
Number of pages5
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 25 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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