The distribution of Salmonella enterica serovars and subtypes in surface water from five agricultural regions across Canada
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Serovar prevalence of the zoonotic pathogen, Salmonella enterica, was compared among 1624 surface water samples collected previously from five different Canadian agricultural watersheds over multiple years. Phagetyping, pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and antimicrobial resistance subtyping assays were performed on serovars Enteritidis, Typhimurium, and Heidelberg. Serovars and subtypes from surface water were compared with those from animal feces, human sewage, and serovars reported to cause salmonellosis in Canadians. Sixty-five different serovars were identified in surface water; only 32% of these were isolated from multiple watersheds. Eleven of the 13 serovars most commonly reported to cause salmonellosis in Canadians were identified in surface water; isolates of these serovars constituted >40% of the total isolates. Common phagetypes and PFGE subtypes of serovars associated with illness in humans such as S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium were also isolated from surface water and animal feces. Antimicrobial resistance was generally low, but was highest among S. Typhimurium. Monitoring of these rivers helps to identify vulnerable areas of a watershed and, despite a relatively low prevalence of S. enterica overall, serovars observed in surface water are an indication of the levels of specific S. enterica serovars present in humans and animals.
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