Non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica is a common cause of diarrhoeal disease; in humans, consumption of contaminated poultry meat is believed to be a major source. Here we determine that S. enterica serovars Heidelberg and Minnesota were the most prevalent serovars in Brazilian poultry and in poultry products imported from Brazil into the UK. However, long-term surveillance data collected by the UK Health Security Agency showed no increase in the incidence of Salmonella Heidelberg or Salmonella Minnesota in human cases of clinical disease in the UK following the increase of these two serovars in Brazilian poultry. Salmonella Heidelberg and Salmonella Minnesota clades shared resistance to sulphonamides, tetracyclines and beta-lactams conferred by sul2, tetA and blaCMY-2 genes, not widely observed in other co-circulating serovars despite similar selection pressures. The sul2 and tetA genes were concomitantly carried on IncC plasmids, whereas blaCMY-2 was either co-located with the sul2 and tetA genes on IncC plasmids or independently on IncI1 plasmids. These findings suggest that introduction of the Salmonella Enteritidis vaccine, in addition to increasing antimicrobial use, could have resulted in replacement of salmonellae in Brazilian poultry flocks with serovars that are more drug resistant, but less associated with disease in humans in the UK.
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