Panamanian Amphibians and Reptiles as Carriers of Salmonella

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  • Gorgas Memorial Laboratory, Panamá, Republic of Panamá

Enteric bacteria pathogenic to man were sought in a total of 548 frogs, toads, and lizards collected throughout the Republic of Panamá. Potential hosts were collected in a variety of habitats, but pathogens were regularly isolated only from species occurring near human habitations, in pasture land, and at a public bathing area. A minimum of 19 species of Salmonella, including seven of the Arizona group, was isolated. Most of the species of Salmonella, except those of the Arizona group, have been implicated in salmonellosis and diarrheal diseases in man in rural Panamá. Lizards of the genus Ameiva showed the highest incidence of infection, with 50.5% of 101 specimens harboring Salmonella. Specimens representing three other genera of lizards were also infected, but to a lesser degree: seven (28.0%) of 25 Sceloporus, two (18.2%) of 11 Basiliscus, and three (7.5%) of 40 Cnemidophorus. The giant toad, Bufo marinus, generally is more abundant in areas disturbed by man than elsewhere and was infected in moderate numbers: 12 (7.6%) of 185 specimens carried Salmonella. Salmonella was present in a single frog. Leptodactylus pentadactylus, collected in a town, but pathogens were absent in 128 other frogs (13 genera) that were collected mostly in forested areas.

Author Notes

And University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Lawrence. Present address: The American Museum of Natural History, New York, N. Y. 10024.

Present address: Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104.