Internal contamination of eggs by Salmonella Enteritidis has been a significant source of human illness for several decades and is the focus of a recently proposed U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory plan. Salmonella Heidelberg has also been identified as an egg-transmitted human pathogen. The deposition of Salmonella strains inside eggs is apparently a consequence of reproductive tissue colonization in infected laying hens, but the relationship between colonization of specific regions of the reproductive tract and deposition in different locations within eggs is not well documented. In the present study, groups of laying hens were experimentally infected with large oral doses of Salmonella Heidelberg, Salmonella Enteritidis phage type 13a, or Salmonella Enteritidis phage type 14b. For all of these isolates, the overall frequency of ovarian colonization (34.0%) was significantly higher than the frequency of recovery from either the upper (22.9%) or lower (18.1%) regions of the oviduct. No significant differences were observed between the frequencies of Salmonella isolation from egg yolk and albumen (4.0% and 3.3%, respectively). Some significant differences between Salmonella isolates were observed in the frequency of recovery from eggs, but not in the frequency or patterns of recovery from reproductive organs. Accordingly, although the ability of these Salmonella isolates to colonize different regions of the reproductive tract in laying hens was reflected in deposition in both yolk and albumen, there was no indication that any specific affinity of individual isolates for particular regions of this tract produced distinctive patterns of deposition in eggs.
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Vol. 51 • No. 1