Salmonella and the poultry red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) remain very challenging diseases for the poultry industry worldwide because of the inefficiency of implementing and integrating eradication and control programs, which results in very high economic losses to the poultry industry. The aim of this study was to determine the association between biosecurity levels in layer farms and the occurrence of both D. gallinae and Salmonella spp., as well as the relationship between D. gallinae infestations on farms and Salmonella occurrence. For this purpose, 22 layer farms using the common battery cage housing system in different parts of Kosovo were randomly selected and analyzed for the presence of D. gallinae and Salmonella in samples, such as feces, water, feed, and dust. Two pooled samples of D. gallinae (2n = 100) were directly analyzed for the presence of Salmonella in the outer and inner parts of cuticula from D. gallinae. A chi-square test was used to determine the association between experience in poultry production, rearing, and level of different biosecurity elements in relation to the occurrence of D. gallinae and Salmonella. Dermanyssus gallinae was found on 15 farms, whereas Salmonella was found on eight of those 15 farms from different environmental samples and on one farm where D. gallinae was not found. In two pooled samples Salmonella was isolated directly from the inner part of the cuticula from D. gallinae, which represents the first direct isolation of Salmonella from D. gallinae mites. Association between the level of biosecurity and the occurrence of D. gallinae and Salmonella was strong. The study indicates that proper biosecurity measures should be in place to lower the occurrence of D. gallinae and Salmonella.
Keywords: Salmonella; biosecurity; poultry red mite.