Epidemiology and Infection

Phage typing and PFGE pattern analysis as tools for epidemiological surveillance of Salmonella enterica serovar Bovismorbificans infections

A.  LIESEGANG  a1, D.  DAVOS  a2, J. C.  BALZER  a1, W.  RABSCH  a1, R.  PRAGER  a1, D.  LIGHTFOOT  a3, A.  SIITONEN  a4, H.  CLAUS  a5 and H.  TSCHÄPE  a1 c1
a1 National Reference Centre for Salmonellae and Other Enterics, Robert Koch Institute, Wernigerode, Germany
a2 Australian Salmonella Reference Centre, Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, Adelaide, Australia
a3 Microbiological Diagnostic Unit, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia
a4 National Salmonella Centre, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland
a5 Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany


Some years ago, an increase in the number of sporadic cases and outbreaks of salmonellosis due to S. enterica serovar Bovismorbificans was observed in several European countries including Finland, Sweden, England/Wales, Austria, and Germany. In order to understand the recent spread of this serovar and to trace the route of infection back to its source, it was considered necessary to subtype S. Bovismorbificans isolates. Using phage typing (newly described here) and molecular fingerprinting (PFGE-pattern, plasmid profiles and ribotype) the isolates of European origin could be subtyped and compared to S. Bovismorbificans isolates that originated in overseas countries such as Australia, Thailand, India, etc. where this serovar was isolated more frequently. Significant clonal diversity was identified but some of the clonal types of S. Bovismorbificans dominated the epidemics and single cases in Europe as well as in overseas countries. The clonal identity among these isolates indicates an international distribution, new sources of infection, and highlights the urgent requirement for standardized laboratory based surveillance networks (e.g. Enter-Net). Moreover, it is suggested that strains of S. Bovismorbificans will continue to be of concern in public health and that phage typing together with PFGE typing can be applied as reliable and rapid tools for their future monitoring.

(Accepted November 12 2001)

c1 Author for correspondence: Robert Koch-Institut, Bereich Wernigerode, Burgstr. 37 D-38855 Wernigerode, Germany.