ITHACA, N.Y. -- Hoping to safeguard the health of farm animals and the people who care for them, diagnosticians at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine are urging farm operators to implement management practices aimed at slowing the spread of Salmonella Typhimurium, including the antibiotic-resistant bacterium, Typhimurium DT104.
"Salmonella can gain access to the farm via carrier cattle, contaminated feed and water or even from infected wildlife, including birds," said Patrick L. McDonough, a bacteriologist at the Veterinary College's Diagnostic Laboratory. "We see an increased risk of infection in any dairy herd that is buying animals as replacements or that is rapidly expanding, especially when newly added animals are not initially separated from the resident herd and where sick cows are housed near cows that have recently calved. We currently do not know all of the potential risk factors for the contamination of a dairy herd with DT104.
The Cornell Diagnostic Laboratory identified DT104 as the agent responsible for an outbreak of bacterial illness in dairy cattle and humans last year at a Vermont farm. In what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now regards as the first proven case of animal-to-human transmission of DT104 in the United States, nearly 10 percent (13) of the Vermont farm's dairy cattle died, nine of 10 family members became seriously ill and one nearly died. CDC investigators suspect the Vermont infections resulted from drinking raw (unpasteurized) milk and contact with sick animals.
DT104 also was found by the Cornell laboratory in samples from other dairy
farms, horses, small-animal hospitals and zoological collections in the
Northeast. In the United Kingdom, recent cases of DT104 illness in humans have
been traced to contaminated meat products, particularly sausage and meat paste.
Although there have been no confirmed cases of DT104 food poisoning in the
United States -- other than the unpaste
Contact: Roger Segelken
Cornell University News Service