Wild Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) as a Source of Salmonella and Campylobacter in Eastern Spain

Autores UPV
Revista PLoS ONE


The existence of Campylobacter and Salmonella reservoirs in wildlife is a potential hazard to animal and human health; however, the prevalence of these species is largely unknown. Until now, only a few studies have evaluated the presence of Campylobacter and Salmonella in wild griffon vultures and based on a small number of birds. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of Campylobacter and Salmonella in wild griffon vultures (n = 97) during the normal ringing programme at the Cinctorres Observatory in Eastern Spain. In addition, the effect of ages of individuals (juveniles, subadult and adult) on the presence were compared. Campylobacter was isolated from 1 of 97 (1.0%) griffon vultures and identified as C. jejuni. Salmonella was isolated from 51 of 97 (52.6%) griffon vultures. No significant differences were found between the ages of individuals for the presence of Salmonella. Serotyping revealed 6 different serovars among two Salmonella enterica subspecies; S. enterica subsp. enterica (n = 49, 96.1%) and S. enterica subsp. salamae (n = 2, 3.9%). No more than one serovar was isolated per individual. The serovars isolated were S. Typhimurium (n = 42, 82.3%), S. Rissen (n = 4, 7.8%), S. Senftenberg (n = 3, 5.9%) and S. 4,12:b[-] (n = 2, 3.9%). Our results imply that wild griffon vultures are a risk factor for Salmonella transmission, but do not seem to be a reservoir for Campylobacter. We therefore rule out vultures as a risk factor for human campylobacteriosis. Nevertheless, further studies should be undertaken in other countries to confirm these results.