Salmonella in sub-Antarctica: low heterogeneity in salmonella serotypes in South Georgian seals and birds
The number of human visitors to Antarctica is increasing rapidly, and with it a risk of introducing infectious organisms to native animals. To study the occurrence of salmonella serotypes in sub-Antarctic wildlife, faecal samples were collected from gentoo penguins, macaroni penguins, gray-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses and Antarctic fur seals on Bird Island in the South Georgian archipelago during the austral summer of 1996 and 1998. In 1996, S. havana, S. typhimurium and S. enteritidis were isolated from 7% of gentoo penguins and 4% of fur seals. In 1998, however, 22% of fur seals were found to be infected with S. havana, S. enteritidis and S. newport. All isolates, except one, showed identical pulsed-field gel electrophoresis-patterns within each serotype, irrespective of sampling year and animal reservoir. No significant antibiotic resistance was found. The very low heterogeneity in the salmonella isolates found could either indicate a high genetic adaptation of the bacteria to the environment or a recent introduction of salmonella into the area.
Authors: Palmgren, H., McCafferty, D., Aspán, A., Broman, T., Sellin, M., Wollin, R., Bergström, S., Olsen, B.