Prevalence and characterization of Salmonella spp. among marine animals in the Channel Islands California

R. A. Stoddard, R. L. DeLong, Barbara A Byrne, S. Jang, Frances M D Gulland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Salmonella enterica is a zoonotic pathogen that has been isolated from free-ranging marine mammals throughout the world, with animals in the Channel Islands of California (USA) showing the highest prevalence. The goal of this study was to determine prevalence, antimicrobial sensitivity and genetic similarity using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of Salmonella in several non-domestic animal species on San Miguel and San Nicolas Islands. Fecal samples were collected from 90 California sea lion Zalophus californianus pups, 30 northern elephant seal Mirounga angustirostris pups and 87 western gulls Larus occidentalis in the Channel Islands and 59 adult male sea lions in Puget Sound, WA (USA). Salmonella were isolated, identified and serotyped, followed by antimicrobial susceptibility testing and PFGE. Of the California sea lion pups that were sampled on the islands, 21 % (n = 19) were positive for Salmonella, whereas no adults males in Puget Sound were positive. Of the northern elephant seal pups sampled, 87 % (n = 26) were harboring Salmonella. Only 9% (n = 8) of western gulls were shedding Salmonella, with one of these gulls harboring the only antimicrobial resistant isolate. The serotypes found in these animals were Enteritidis, Montevideo, Newport, Reading, and Saint Paul. The only serotype that showed variation on PFGE was Newport. The pinnipeds of the Channel Islands harbor Salmonella at a higher prevalence than pinnipeds from other geographic areas observed in previous studies. Researchers and veterinarians should exercise increased caution when working with these animals due to the zoonotic potential of Salmonella.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 19 2008


  • California sea lions
  • Channel islands
  • Marine animals
  • Northern elephant seals
  • Salmonella enterica
  • Western gulls

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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