Examination of common swifts (Apus apus) for salmonella shedding in the area of Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany.
The available literature indicates a high prevalence of the zoonotic pathogen Salmonella (S.) enterica serovar Infantis in the common swift (Apus apus). This long-distance migrant, which only consumes aerial plankton, can reach high population densities in places with suitable breeding sites. Dedicated competent private persons take part in the hand rearing of juvenile common swifts in wildlife rescue centres, which unavoidably results in close contact with these avian patients. For this reason, we examined common swifts for shedding of Salmonella spp. In the years 2014 and 2019, intestinal swabs or fresh faeces of common swifts (2014: n = 54; 2019: n = 62) were examined microbiologically (DIN EN ISO 6579; Annex D) in the area of Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany. Salmonella spp. could not be detected in any of the examined common swifts within the investigation period and the studied area in 2014 and 2019. The results illustrate that the common swift is unlikely to be a natural reservoir of Salmonella spp. For the transmission of salmonella by swifts the local conditions with the corresponding environmental impact seem to play a significant role, and the risk of transmission should be assessed according to the region to be examined.