Zoonotic enteric pathogenic bacteria can live in the intestinal tract of birds and can be transmitted to food animals or humans via fecal contact. In the present study, cecal samples were collected from 376 migratory birds from species often associated with cattle during the fall migration in the Central Flyway of the United States. Brown-headed cowbirds (n=309, Molothrus ater), common grackles (n=51, Quiscalus quiscula), and cattle egrets (n=12, Bubulcus ibis) contained foodborne pathogenic bacteria in their ceca. Salmonella enterica was isolated from 14.9% of all samples, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 from 3.7%. Salmonella serotypes isolated included the following: Muenster, Montevideo, and Typhimurium.
Our data suggest that migratory birds associated with cattle could be a vector for zoonotic enteric pathogenic bacteria to be disseminated across long distances.’
Isolation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella from migratory brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), and cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis)
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. -Not available-, ahead of print
Callaway, Todd R., Edrington, Tom S., and Nisbet, David J.