Main content area

Zoonotic Agents in Small Ruminants Kept on City Farms in Southern Germany

Schilling, Anna-Katarina, Hotzel, Helmut, Methner, Ulrich, Sprague, Lisa D., Schmoock, Gernot, El-Adawy, Hosny, Ehricht, Ralf, Wöhr, Anna-Caroline, Erhard, Michael, Geue, Lutz
Applied and environmental microbiology 2012 v.78 no.11 pp. 3785-3793
Campylobacter, Coxiella burnetii, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus, cities, farms, feces, goats, humans, hygiene, nose, sheep, Germany
Sheep and goats are popular examples of livestock kept on city farms. In these settings, close contacts between humans and animals frequently occur. Although it is widely accepted that small ruminants can carry numerous zoonotic agents, it is unknown which of these agents actually occur in sheep and goats on city farms in Germany. We sampled feces and nasal liquid of 48 animals (28 goats, 20 sheep) distributed in 7 city farms and on one activity playground in southern Germany. We found that 100% of the sampled sheep and 89.3% of the goats carried Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). The presence of Staphylococcus spp. in 75% of both sheep and goats could be demonstrated. Campylobacter spp. were detected in 25% and 14.3% of the sheep and goats, respectively. Neither Salmonella spp. nor Coxiella burnetii was found. On the basis of these data, we propose a reasonable hygiene scheme to prevent transmission of zoonotic agents during city farm visits.