Objective—To determine types and estimate prevalence of potentially zoonotic enteric pathogens shed by wild animals admitted to either of 2 wildlife hospitals and to characterize distribution of these pathogens and of aerobic bacteria in a hospital environment.
Sample—Fecal samples from 338 animals in 2 wildlife hospitals and environmental samples from 1 wildlife hospital.
Procedures—Fecal samples were collected within 24 hours of hospital admission. Environmental samples were collected from air and surfaces. Samples were tested for zoonotic pathogens via culture techniques and biochemical analyses. Prevalence of pathogen shedding was compared among species groups, ages, sexes, and seasons. Bacterial counts were determined for environmental samples.
Results—Campylobacter spp, Vibrio spp, Salmonella spp, Giardia spp, and Cryptosporidium spp (alone or in combination) were detected in 105 of 338 (31%) fecal samples. Campylobacter spp were isolated only from birds. Juvenile passerines were more likely to shed Campylobacter spp than were adults; prevalence increased among juvenile passerines during summer. Non-O1 serotypes of Vibrio cholerae were isolated from birds; during an oil-spill response, 9 of 10 seabirds screened were shedding this pathogen, which was also detected in environmental samples. Salmonella spp and Giardia spp were isolated from birds and mammals; Cryptosporidium spp were isolated from mammals only. Floors of animal rooms had higher bacterial counts than did floors with only human traffic.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Potentially zoonotic enteric pathogens were identified in samples from several species admitted to wildlife hospitals, indicating potential for transmission if prevention is not practiced.