Etiology: Salmonella enterica serovars Typhimurium and Enteritidis are Gram-negative, invasive enteric bacteria.
Incidence: Incidence of infection and disease is rare in research hamsters.
Transmission: Food, water and bedding may be contaminated by infected feces from wild rodents.
Clinical Signs: The disease may only be manifest as acute death. Clinical signs are seen primarily in pregnant or recently delivered females and infant or weanling hamsters. Diarrhea is usually not present but pregnant females may abort and become cachexic.
Pathology: Fluid-filled small intestine and cecum may be observed in young hamsters. Lungs have a patchy hemorrhagic and partly grayish appearance. Small white foci are seen in the liver. The most significant lesions are those of septicemia, including partially occluding thrombosis of pulmonary venules (A.) with underlying necrosis and erosion of the vessel walls. There are focal areas of interstitial pneumonia and lobular collapse. Thrombosis of liver venules and multifocal necrosis of the liver (B.), lymph nodes and spleen are seen.
Diagnosis: Recovery of Salmonella sp. from fecal or lesioned organ cultures is diagnostic. Enriched or selective media should be used. Fecal, lymph node or liver homogenates from multiple animals enhances the opportunities to recover Salmonella, especially when the disease has become enzootic.
Public Health Significance: Humans ingesting Salmonella Typhimurium contaminated food or water experience a transient diarrhea .
3. 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.