Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2021 Sep 14. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2021.0037. Online ahead of print.
Nontyphoidal Salmonella is a leading cause of foodborne illnesses, and concentrated animal production such as commercial mink farming can be a reservoir. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence, serotypes, antimicrobial resistance, virulence genes and mobile genetic elements, and phylogenetic characterization of Salmonella from mink fecal (n = 42) and feed (n = 8) samples at a commercial mink farm in the United States. Salmonella was detected from 11 (26.2%) fecal and 1 (12.5%) feed samples. Twelve fecal isolates obtained from the positive samples were identified into four serotypes: Salmonella Uganda (eight isolates; two isolates were obtained from one sample), Salmonella Reading (two isolates), Salmonella Heidelberg (one isolate), and Salmonella Orion (one isolate). Two isolates from the positive feed sample were identified as Salmonella Cerro. Twelve isolates, one isolate per positive sample, were whole genome sequenced for further characterization. The two Salmonella Reading isolates were multidrug resistant (MDR) with the classical ASSuT (ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline) phenotype. Genotypically, the isolates were correspondingly positive, both by polymerase chain reaction and by whole-genome sequencing (WGS), for blaTEM-1, aph(3″)-Ib and aph(6)-Id, sul2, and tet(A). WGS additionally identified trimethoprim resistance gene dfrA8 in Salmonella Reading, and fosfomycin resistance gene fosA7 in Salmonella Heidelberg. All isolates carried Salmonella-specific multidrug resistance (mdsA/B), gold resistance, and intimin-like virulence genes. In addition, Salmonella Orion carried copper and silver resistance gene clusters. The two Salmonella Reading isolates also carried a cytolethal distension toxin (cdtB) gene. Salmonella Reading isolates belonged to ST412, a predominant sequence type among turkey and human isolates obtained in relation to recent salmonellosis outbreaks in North America. Phylogenetically, Salmonella Uganda, Salmonella Heidelberg, and Salmonella Reading were mostly associated with historic human/clinical, and poultry and swine source isolates. This study indicates that mink production can be a reservoir for foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella with MDR serovars commonly associated with human illnesses.