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In Austria, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Dublin, a bovine-adapted serovar, rarely causes infections in humans. In 2000, Austria was within the European mean with an incidence of 0.1 per million inhabitants. Our data show that the vast majority of all serovar Dublin infections (human and non-human) can be traced epidemiologically to two districts in the Tyrol. This concentration of cases can be explained by a particularly traditional aspect of cattle farming in this area, the alpine pasture. There is an increased risk of cross infection due to the communal keeping of animals from various farms. Infected cattle are a source of infection for humans, and transmission usually occurs from eating beef and drinking cows’ milk. Using pulsed field gel electrophoresis and automated ribotyping, three out of five isolates from human infections could be traced to characteristic Tyrolean Dublin clones. Bacteriological screening for faecal carriage before the transfer of cattle from risk-herds to the alpine pastures and before the return from risk-pastures to the farms would be a possible starting point to prevent cross-contamination of large mixed herds and contamination of pasture through latently infected cattle. Appropriate research is necessary.


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