Objective—To evaluate a combination of 2 nonantibiotic microbicide compounds, sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) and polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB), as a treatment to suppress or eliminate Salmonella spp from red-eared slider (RES) turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) eggs and hatchlings.
Sample Population—2,738 eggs from 8 turtle farms in Louisiana.
Procedures—Eggs were randomly sorted into 3 or, when sufficient eggs were available, 4 treatment groups as follows: control, pressure-differential egg treatment with NaOCl and gentamicin, NaOCl and PHMB bath treatment, and pressure-differential egg treatment with NaOCl and PHMB. Bacterial cultures were performed from specimens of eggs and hatchlings and evaluated for Salmonella spp.
Results—RES turtle eggs treated with NaOCl and PHMB as a bath (odds ratio [OR], 0.2 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.1 to 0.3]) or as a pressure-differential dip (OR, 0.01 [95% CI, 0.001 to 0.07]) or with gentamicin as a pressure-differential dip (OR, 0.1 [95% CI, 0.06 to 0.2]) were significantly less likely to have Salmonella-positive culture results than control-group eggs.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Concern over reptile-associated salmonellosis in children in the United States is so great that federal regulations prohibit the sale of turtles that are < 10.2 cm in length. Currently, turtle farms treat eggs with gentamicin solution. Although this has reduced Salmonella shedding, it has also resulted in antimicrobial resistance. Results of our study indicate that a combination of NaOCl and PHMB may be used to suppress or eliminate Salmonella spp on RES turtle eggs and in hatchlings.