Environmental Sampling for Salmonella spp. in Colorado Animal Shelters

K. K. Steneroden, Ashley E Hill, M. D. Salman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Salmonella enterica is an important zoonotic agent and nosocomial infections and epidemics have occurred in animal facilities. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of Salmonella in the environment in animal shelters. From 12 to 25 samples were taken from each shelter to represent environmental contamination. Samples were collected from surfaces in areas used by animals and in public access areas including animal receiving rooms, kennels, paediatric wards, treatment, visitation rooms, isolation, euthanasia, outdoor runs and play areas, reception rooms, animal transport vehicles, offices, break rooms and restrooms. Samples were tested for Salmonella and compared within shelters to identify high- and low-risk areas; and between shelters to identify differences in environmental contamination by geographical location, infection control policies, and shelter size characteristics. Twenty-eight per cent of sampled Colorado shelters had environmental Salmonella contamination. Two regions in the eastern 1/3 of the state had prevalences of 30% and 100%. Within-shelter sample prevalence ranged from 0 to 100%. Results of this study indicate that animal shelters can be frequently contaminated with Salmonella spp., a variety of Salmonella species may be present, contamination can be widespread within a facility and recovered isolates may harbour antibiotic resistance The findings from this study may influence and help focus educational policy on issues of infection control and zoonotic disease awareness in animal shelters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-415
Number of pages9
JournalZoonoses and Public Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal shelters
  • Environmental sampling
  • Salmonella
  • Zoonoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • veterinary(all)


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