Etiology: Salmonella enterica along with protozoal infestation and food deprivation have all been reported to be causes of enteritis in gerbils.  Salmonella is a Gram-negative, toxin-producing, invasive, enteric bacterium. The most common serotype of Salmonella enterica to infect gerbils is serovar Typhimurium.

Incidence: The incidence of infection with Salmonella is rare.

Transmission:   The disease is spread by the fecal-oral route.  Food, water, and bedding may be contaminated by infected feces.

Clinical Signs:  The affected animal may rarely have moderate to severe diarrhea, but frequently displays a rough hair coat, weight loss, depression, and dehydration.  Acute death will sometimes be encountered.

Pathology:  Gross lesions may include a congested liver, gastrointestinal distension, and fibrinosuppurative peritonitis.

Diagnosis:  Diagnosis of Salmonella is made by culture.

Public Health Significance:  Humans ingesting Salmonella contaminated food or water may experience a transient diarrhea.  Children or immunocompromised adults may experience more severe disease [1]. The disease in humans is reportable.

1.            Outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella typhimurium associated with rodents purchased at retail pet stores–United States, December 2003-October 2004. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep, 2005. 54(17): p. 429-33.