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.
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