Salmonella virchow and Salmonella weltevreden in a random survey of the asian house gecko, hemidactylus frenatus, in houses in Northern Australia
Posted: June 17th, 2011 - 12:55pm
Source: Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. 11(6): 621-625. doi:10.1089/vbz.2010.0015
Background: Salmonella enterica serotype Virchow is the most common cause of invasive nontyphoid salmonellosis in North Queensland, particularly in infants, but the zoonotic source is unknown. This study aimed at determining (i) the prevalence of the introduced Asian house gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus, in houses in North Queensland and (ii) whether they were a potential source of Salmonella Virchow.
Methods: Asian house geckos were collected in a random survey of houses in Townsville, North Queensland. Gut contents underwent microbiological analysis within 2 h of removal using both direct plating and enrichment broth methods. Any organism found to be a presumptive Salmonella spp. was then sent to a reference lab for confirmation of genus/species, serotyping, and phage typing if indicated.
Results: One hundred Asian house geckos were collected from 57 houses. Geckos were present in 100% of houses surveyed, and prevalence of Salmonella in large intestinal contents was 7% (95% confidence interval 2, 12%). Three serotypes were found: Virchow (phage type 8), Weltevreden, and an untypable subspecies 1 serotype 11:-:1,7.
Conclusion: Since Salmonella Virchow (phage type 8) is associated with invasive disease, the introduced Asian house gecko may play a significant role in the epidemiology of sporadic salmonellosis in places invaded by these peridomestic reptiles. These results justify more detailed epidemiological studies on the role of the Asian house gecko in sporadic salmonellosis and development of evidence-based strategies to decrease this potential zoonotic hazard.