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Open Access Research article

Survey of co-infection by Salmonella and oxyurids in tortoises

Ludovico Dipineto, Michele Capasso, Maria Paola Maurelli, Tamara Pasqualina Russo, Paola Pepe, Giovanni Capone, Alessandro Fioretti, Giuseppe Cringoli and Laura Rinaldi*

Author Affiliations

Department of Pathology and Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Naples Federico II, via della Veterinaria 1, 80137, Napoli, Italy

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BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:69  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-69

Published: 28 May 2012

Abstract

Background

Salmonella spp. and oxyurids are among the most prevalent bacterial and parasitic agents in reptiles. These organisms are routinely isolated in healthy tortoises, although heavy infections may cause significant pathology. Tortoises are considered a common source of reptile-associated salmonellosis, an important zoonosis reported worldwide. A survey of the prevalence of Salmonella spp. and oxyurids in 53 tortoises was conducted in southern Italy and a possible correlation between the two pathogens was therefore investigated.

Results

Salmonella spp. and oxyurids were detected with a prevalence of 49.1 and 81.1%, respectively. A significant positive correlation between Salmonella spp. and oxyurids was demonstrated. However, confounding factors related to husbandry could have been involved in determining this correlation.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that caution should be exercised in translocation, husbandry, and human contact with tortoises and other exotic pets. Further studies on the epidemiology, molecular characterization and pathogenesis of Salmonella and oxyurids are needed to assess the actual impact of these organisms, as single or associated infections, on tortoises and on other exotic pets.