Prevalence of virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes in <i>Salmonella</i> spp. isolated from commercial chickens and human clinical isolates from South Africa and Brazil.
Fresh and processed poultry have been frequently implicated in cases of human salmonellosis. Furthermore, increased consumption of meat and poultry has increased the potential for exposure to Salmonella enterica. While advances have been made in reducing the prevalence and frequency of Salmonella contamination in processed poultry, there is mounting pressure on commercial growers to prevent and/or eliminate these human pathogens in preharvest production facilities. Several factors contribute to Salmonella colonization in commercial poultry, including the serovar and the infectious dose. In the early 1900s, Salmonella enterica serovars Pullorum and Gallinarum caused widespread diseases in poultry, but vaccination and other voluntary programs helped eradicate pullorum disease and fowl typhoid from commercial flocks. However, the niche created by the eradication of these serovars was likely filled by S. Enteritidis, which proliferated in the bird populations. While this pathogen remains a significant problem in commercial egg and poultry production, its prevalence among poultry has been declining since the 1990s. Coinciding with the decrease of S. Enteritidis, S. Heidelberg and S. Kentucky have emerged as the predominant serovars in commercial broilers. In this review, we have highlighted bacterial genetic and host-related factors that may contribute to such shifts in Salmonella populations in commercial poultry and intervention strategies that could limit their colonization.