Preliminary findings of Salmonella spp. in captive green iguanas (Iguana iguana) and their environment

Prev Vet Med. 2000 Jun 12;45(3-4):297-304. doi: 10.1016/s0167-5877(00)00124-0.


Captive reptiles are routinely identified as reservoirs of Salmonella spp. and reports of reptile-associated salmonellosis are increasing. Unfortunately, little is known about the epidemiology of Salmonella spp. and green iguanas. We did a limited survey of a green-iguana farm in El Salvador to identify sources of Salmonella spp. in green iguanas and their environment. A limited number of samples for microbiological culture were collected from iguanas (adult, hatchling, and embryos) and their environment (food, water, soil, shelter, insects, and wild-caught lizards). Salmonella spp. was isolated from the intestine of both adult (3/20) and hatchling iguanas (8/20). There was no evidence of Salmonella spp. in the reproductive tracts of female iguanas (0/10). Salmonella spp. was isolated from the surface of 40% (7/16) of the egg surfaces tested. Salmonella spp. was not identified from the externalized yolk-sac of the iguana embryos tested. Soil samples from a breeding pen and a nest were both positive for Salmonella spp. Eight different Salmonella spp. serotypes were identified in this survey. These results suggest that horizontal transmission of Salmonella spp. is a potential source of exposure to hatchling iguanas at this facility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Reservoirs / veterinary*
  • El Salvador / epidemiology
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Female
  • Iguanas*
  • Male
  • Salmonella / classification
  • Salmonella / isolation & purification*
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / epidemiology*
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / transmission
  • Serotyping / veterinary