In total, 40 commercial layer farms and 32 replacement pullet farms with a combined population of 7.5 million adult layers and 6.6 million replacement pullets from six prefectures in eastern Japan were investigated for Salmonella Senftenberg contamination. We randomly collected 17,956 environmental samples, 5816 feed samples, and 218,470 egg samples from commercial layer farms; and 427 feed samples and 2896 environmental samples from replacement pullet farms. We monitored all samples for Salmonella. Samples were primarily enriched in Hajna tetrathinoate broth for 24 hr at 37 C followed by incubation in desoxycholate hydrogen sulfide lactose agar for 18 hr at 37 C. Salmonella colonies were confirmed and identified by biochemical tests and serotyped using Salmonella O and H antigens. We recorded 171 environmental samples (0.95%) and 10 feed samples (0.17%) that were positive for Salmonella spp. in which 36 environmental samples (0.20%) and six feed samples (0.10%) were identified as Salmonella Senftenberg. All Salmonella Senftenberg strains were isolated from nine replacement pullet farms. No Salmonella Senftenberg strains were isolated from adult layer farms and from eggs. Pulse field gel electrophoresis of BlnI-digested chromosomal DNA of 19 Salmonella Senftenberg isolates from feeds and environmental samples yielded a single identical DNA pattern. Traceback information showed that all positive feed samples were from a single feed source. Timeline studies showed that Salmonella Senftenberg contamination occurred first mostly in the feeds and then spread to the environment and other farms. This study demonstrated that the prevalence of Salmonella Senftenberg contamination in commercial layer facilities in eastern Japan is very low. Moreover, feed contamination played a major role in the epizootiology and spread of this pathogen in commercial poultry flocks. Given the resilient and persistent nature of this particular Salmonella serotype, routine monitoring and strict quality control measures at the feed level are recommended to prevent the colonization of poultry facilities with Salmonella Senftenberg that may lead to future outbreaks.

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