Occurrence of Salmonella enterica in grey-headed flying foxes from New South Wales

F. McDougall*, M. Power

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Salmonella enterica and Campylobacter jejuni are significant foodborne zoonotic pathogens causing gastroenteritis in humans. Domestic animals are commonly implicated as reservoirs of S. enterica and C. jejuni, but both are also detected in wild animals. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is the most common cause of human salmonellosis in Australia; however, Salmonella enterica serovar Wangata is associated with sporadic human outbreaks in New South Wales and wild animals may be a potential reservoir. To determine if wild grey-headed flying foxes (GHFF; Pteropus poliocephalus) are reservoirs of Salmonella and Campylobacter, faecal samples were collected from three GHFF colonies in New South Wales and cultured for the presence of Salmonella and Campylobacter. One Salmonella isolate was cultured from 254 GHFF faecal samples (0.39%). Whole genome sequencing was used to genetically characterise the Salmonella isolate and perform phylogenetic analysis. The GHFF isolate was determined to be Salmonella Typhimurium ST19. The GHFF isolate carried a virulence plasmid and other virulence factors, but did not exhibit antimicrobial resistance. Phylogenetic analysis determined that the GHFF isolate was most closely related to a cluster of six isolates: four from human salmonellosis cases in Queensland and two from Australian livestock. Neither Campylobacter nor Salmonella Wangata were cultured from the 254 GHFF faecal samples. This study concluded that wild GHFF in New South Wales are not major reservoirs for Salmonella, and the zoonotic risks associated with S. enterica carriage by urban GHFF are low for the general public.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)517-521
    Number of pages5
    JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
    Issue number12
    Early online date6 Sep 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


    • fruit bats
    • grey-headed flying fox
    • One Health
    • Salmonella
    • zoonoses


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