From 2002 to 2006, gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) were collected at Moody Air Force Base, Lowndes/Lanier counties, Georgia, USA, and opportunistically surveyed for the presence of Salmonella species. Four of 155 (2.6%) cloacal swabs collected from 80 tortoises were positive for the presence of Salmonella enterica, and the following serovars were identified: Give, Hartford, Javiana, and Luciana. Female tortoises (5%) were infected at a rate similar to male tortoises (5%). All isolates were obtained from adult tortoises (n=73); subadults (n=7) were all negative. Each isolated serovar is a potential human pathogen, suggesting appropriate precautions should be emphasized when handling these animals.
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Vol. 44 • No. 4