Fecal and cloacal swabs or feces of wild mammalian, avian and reptilian species, either farmed or free-ranging, and of racing pigeons (Columba livia) kept in lofts were cultured for Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., and Yersinia spp. Of 291 free-ranging mammals tested, 6 (2%) and 1 (<1%) yielded positive cultures of Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp., respectively. Salmonella newport was the predominant serotype isolated and the opossum (Didelphis marsupialis insularis) had the significantly highest prevalence (29%) of Salmonella spp. infection compared to other species such as deer (Mazama americana trinitatis), lappe (Agouti paca), tattoo (Dasypus novemcinctus), agouti (Dasyprocta leporina), and wild hog (Tayassu tajacu). Among 14 species of farmed wildlife studied, 13 (7%) and 10 (5%) of 184 fecal or cloacal samples tested were positive for Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp., respectively. Salmonella javiana accounted for 50% of the Salmonella spp. isolates and C. jejuni represented 90% of the Campylobacter spp. cultured. Only 1 (1%) of 124 cloacal swabs of free-flying avian species yielded Salmonella spp. compared to 21(17%) samples positive for Campylobacter spp. Of 171 racing pigeons which originated from 8 fanciers, 8 (5%) yielded Salmonella spp. all of which were serotype typhimurium while only 1 (1%) was positive for Campylobacter spp. Seven (88%) of 8 Salmonella spp. isolates were recovered from one fancier. Yersinia spp. was not cultured from any of the above samples. Although the prevalences of Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. in wildlife in Trinidad are low, the practice of wildlife farming and the increased consumption of meat from wildlife may increase the health risk to human consumers.
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Vol. 34 • No. 1