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The horizontal transfer of Salmonella between the lesser mealworm (Alphitobius diaperinus) and poultry manure

Crippen, T. L., Sheffield, C. L., Beier, R. C., Nisbet, D. J.
Zoonoses and public health 2018 v.65 no.1 pp. e23
Alphitobius diaperinus, Salmonella, broiler chickens, disease reservoirs, disease transmission, flocks, microbial load, poultry manure, salmonellosis
There is need to determine the nature of enduring reservoirs of Salmonella contributing to perpetual contamination within poultry flocks. The dispersal of Salmonella between birds, litter and the lesser mealworm has been established, but the extent that these act as critical components in the epidemiology of Salmonella infection during broiler grow‐out and flock rotation has not been delineated; in particular, the level of participation by the lesser mealworm beetles (LMB) as agents of retention and dispersal. This study defines this route of transmission and provides empirical data on bacterial loads that facilitate Salmonella transfer. Results showed differential Salmonella transfer dependent on bacterial concentration. At 10³ cfu/ml, only a small, but not significant, amount of Salmonella was transferred, from the LMB to the manure and back to uninfected LMB; while from 10⁵ to 10⁷ cfu/ml, a significant acquisition and transfer occurred both internally and externally to the LMB over 4 and 24 hr exposures. These data will be used in correlation with facility management practices to develop intervention strategies to mitigate the establishment and spreading of reservoir Salmonella populations contributing to pre‐harvest contamination of poultry flocks.