The challenging task to select Salmonella target serovars in poultry: the Italian point of view

Epidemiol Infect. 2021 May 24:149:e160. doi: 10.1017/S0950268821001230.


According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) annual report, human salmonellosis is mostly related to consumption of contaminated poultry products. Since 2003 in Europe, the Salmonella serovars considered relevant for human health and subject to control in breeding hens of Gallus gallus are: S. Enteritidis, S. Typhimurium (including the monophasic variant), S. Infantis, S. Hadar and S. Virchow. Herein, we investigated the Italian epidemiological situation from 2016 to 2018, comparing Salmonella serovar distributions in humans and poultry, in order to identify the target Salmonella serovars that, if controlled, would potentially have the largest public health impact in Italy. The results showed that control of S. Virchow and S. Hadar does no longer seem to be a priority in Italy and that S. Napoli and S. Derby, which are not included in the group of EU target serovars, are among the most frequent serovars isolated from humans in Italy. While S. Derby has its main reservoir in pigs, S. Napoli does not have a specific reservoir. However, because this serovar is frequently isolated from breeding poultry flocks and is characterised by causing severe human illness, it is a potential target Salmonella serovar in breeding hens of Gallus gallus in Italy.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Poultry; Public health; Salmonella.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens / microbiology
  • Food Microbiology
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Poultry / microbiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Salmonella / classification
  • Salmonella / genetics*
  • Salmonella / isolation & purification*
  • Salmonella / pathogenicity
  • Salmonella Infections / epidemiology
  • Salmonella Infections / microbiology*
  • Serogroup