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The role of gulls and corvids in local transmission of Campylobacter, Salmonella, Yersinia and VTEC

Published 2017-05-12

Local spread between farms with food-producing animals is an important factor in the prevalence of gastrointestinal zoonotic pathogens in Sweden. A possible route of local transmission is wild birds like gulls and corvids (e.g. crows, jackdaws), that often forage in environments that can be contaminated by zoonotic bacteria like on pastures and fertilized land as well as in refuse heaps.

In addition to to possibly spreading disease between animals, wild birds can also serve as carriers of zoonotic diseases to humans. For instance, jackdaws frequently forage in the countryside by day and gather in cities at night. Many gulls and corvids seek out human settlements to find food, often congregating in areas like outdoor restaurant areas, rest stops and other places where people eat.

In this study we will investigate the prevalence of the major zoonotic gastrointestinal pathogens EHEC, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Yersinia among Swedish corvids and gulls in rural and periurban areas. This will allow us to estimate their role in the local spread of pathogens between farms and zoonotic infections.