The effect of temperature on different Salmonella serotypes during warm seasons in a Mediterranean climate city, Adelaide, Australia

Epidemiol Infect. 2016 Apr;144(6):1231-40. doi: 10.1017/S0950268815002587. Epub 2015 Nov 2.


Changing trends in foodborne disease are influenced by many factors, including temperature. Globally and in Australia, warmer ambient temperatures are projected to rise if climate change continues. Salmonella spp. are a temperature-sensitive pathogen and rising temperature can have a substantial effect on disease burden affecting human health. We examined the relationship between temperature and Salmonella spp. and serotype notifications in Adelaide, Australia. Time-series Poisson regression models were fit to estimate the effect of temperature during warmer months on Salmonella spp. and serotype cases notified from 1990 to 2012. Long-term trends, seasonality, autocorrelation and lagged effects were included in the statistical models. Daily Salmonella spp. counts increased by 1·3% [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1·013, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·008-1·019] per 1 °C rise in temperature in the warm season with greater increases observed in specific serotype and phage-type cases ranging from 3·4% (IRR 1·034, 95% CI 1·008-1·061) to 4·4% (IRR 1·044, 95% CI 1·024-1·064). We observed increased cases of S. Typhimurium PT9 and S. Typhimurium PT108 notifications above a threshold of 39 °C. This study has identified the impact of warm season temperature on different Salmonella spp. strains and confirms higher temperature has a greater effect on phage-type notifications. The findings will contribute targeted information for public health policy interventions, including food safety programmes during warmer weather.

Keywords: Climate – impact of; Salmonella; Salmonella typing; foodborne infections; infectious disease epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Climate Change
  • Disease Notification
  • Foodborne Diseases / epidemiology
  • Foodborne Diseases / microbiology*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Salmonella / genetics
  • Salmonella / physiology*
  • Salmonella Infections / epidemiology
  • Salmonella Infections / microbiology*
  • Seasons*
  • Serogroup
  • South Australia / epidemiology
  • Species Specificity