Animal Health Diagnostic Center

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Salmonella Rapid Surveillance for
Veterinary Facilities


Frequently Asked Questions

What types of facilities can participate?
Veterinary clinics, hospitals, medical centers, imaging facilities, breeding facilities, and barns.

What phone number should I call?
This testing program is a coordinated effort of multiple sections. The most efficient way to contact us is by email to salmonella@cornell.edu. as this will reach all relevant personnel involved. If you would still like to speak with someone, please call our main switchboard at (607) 253-3900.

Can sweetened, condensed milk be used?
NO

Can fresh skim milk be used?
NO

Can pre-treated, disinfecting Swiffers be used?
NO

Can zipper-lock bags be used to hold the sample swabs?
No, please put the swabs into whirl-packs or screw-top plastic jars such as those used for fecal samples.  Then place the whirl packs or sample jars into zipper-lock bags as secondary containers.

Which species of Salmonella are detected?
All Salmonella species except for S. bongori are detected.

Why are antimicrobial sensitivity tests not routinely included? 
Results of this testing are used to assess cleaning and disinfection of facilities, rather than to provide information relevant to treating patients.  However, antibiogram information may actually be helpful in tracing the source of contamination if multiple salmonellosis patients are/were in a facility simultaneously.  In those instances, it may be appropriate to request antimicrobial sensitivity testing for culture isolates.

What exactly is a cycle threshold? 
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is a process used to extract, amplify and detect DNA or RNA.  The amplification and detection is performed in a machine called a thermocycler.  The cycle threshold (Ct) is the number of cycles at the point at which the amplified DNA is detected.  So it is a relative measure of the amount of DNA in the test specimen.  That is, the lower the Ct, the greater amount of DNA was present.  In general, only Ct values from the same assay (same nucleic acid extraction, same equipment, same reagents, etc.) should be compared.

Where can I get suitable sample containers?
Multiuse, screw-cap, leakproof plastic cups are available through the AHDC diagnostic supply center.  See item 41 – 3 oz sterile specimen cups, on our supply order form. Sterile Whirl-paks are available through a variety of supply catalogues, e.g. eNasco (http://www.enasco.com/product/B00992WA).  The 7 oz size are great for either the gauze swabs or the Swiffer pads.

Can further testing identify outbreak sources?
Yes, please contact us if you have an outbreak scenario for which source tracebacks may be required. We offer this service using Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) for an additional fee.