Salmonella vaccine can help reduce presence of Salmonella Reading by 57%

Sandy Aehle

Sandy earned her Master of Science in biological science from the University of Missouri and...

Control Salmonella Reading with Monitoring, Biosecurity and Vaccines

Author Sandra Aehle Image

Posted by Sandy Aehle on 11 March, 2021


Control Salmonella Reading with Monitoring, Biosecurity and Vaccines

Salmonella Reading is not usually a pathogen of concern, however when an outbreak does occur it can garner plenty of public attention. There have been two recent Salmonella Reading outbreaks in North America. The most recent outbreak occurred in 2019 and was linked to contaminated ground turkey products. The outbreak caused 358 reported illnesses, 133 hospitalizations and one death in 42 states.1

Managing Salmonella Reading

Managing Salmonella takes consistent monitoring and testing to identify sources of infection in live production.  Many Salmonella serotypes, like Salmonella Reading, can be transmitted from contaminated eggs from the breeding stock to meat birds. In order to effectively reduce Salmonella infections in turkeys, a surveillance program can be implemented as a strategy to identify management practices that reduce the presence of Salmonella in breeders and offspring.

Producers can easily monitor breeder flocks’ environments by sampling barns with boot swabs on a regular basis. Those swabs are then analyzed by a lab to identify pathogenic serotypes to aid in strategizing efforts toward effective interventions.

Collecting samples from hatch trays also provides an opportunity to identify pathogenic Salmonella that has been transferred from the hens to the poults. Taking a targeted approach to reducing infection in the integrated farm continuum is important — using mitigation strategies to address both vertical and horizontal transmission of Salmonella.

Improving Biosecurity

Anything with legs can carry Salmonella into a barn, including humans, beetles, flies and rodents. Appropriate biosecurity measures are important for reducing Salmonella Reading and other Salmonella prevalent in the barn. 

Poultry barns should have anterooms where producers, services techs and visitors can put on dedicated coveralls and over-boots as they enter the barn and remove and dispose of them appropriately prior to leaving the barn. These and other on-farm biosecurity practices have been shown to effectively reduce the risk of carrying Salmonella Reading and other Salmonella from one barn to another.

Vaccination to Reduce Salmonella Reading

In addition to monitoring barns regularly and implementing biosecurity measures, turkey producers can also mitigate Salmonella with vaccination programs utilizing live and inactivated Salmonella vaccines for poultry. Protective immunity provided by vaccination has been shown to significantly reduce Salmonella in breeder hens and their offspring, leading to lower Salmonella loads on birds entering the processing facility.2,3 A program of live and inactivated Salmonella vaccines can effectively reduce the vertical and horizontal transmission of Salmonella to meat birds.2 Live vaccines, like AviPro® Megan® Egg, and inactivated vaccines, like Elanco’s custom autogenous vaccines, build immunity and reduce Salmonella Reading and other Salmonella infections.

Elanco recently worked with a turkey producer to study the efficacy of Salmonella vaccines in commercial turkeys to reduce Salmonella, including S. Reading, contamination in ground meat samples. The study involved evaluating Salmonella presence in ground turkey samples before vaccination was implemented and after the complex began the vaccination program.

The turkey producer began vaccinating commercial poults with AviPro Megan Egg via spray applications at placement and again at around three weeks of age from June 2018 through October 2018. A baseline was established for Salmonella presence from ground turkey samples from non-vaccinated flocks over a two-month period. Organic and antibiotic-free vaccinated toms entered the processing plant in November 2018 and vaccinated conventional toms entered the plant in January 2019

A total of 557 ground turkey samples were collected over a ten-month period to assess the prevalence of Salmonella during the pre-vaccination period, in the vaccination transition period, and in the post-vaccination period. Overall, Salmonella prevalence declined by approximately 35% in the samples tested during the post-vaccination period, and the prevalence of Salmonella Reading was significantly reduced by approximately 57% compared to the baseline period.4

Implementing a vaccination program to reduce the load of Salmonella in turkeys entering the plant allows improved efficacy of in-plant interventions to further reduce Salmonella contamination of turkey products destined for consumers. A comprehensive Salmonella control program to reduce Salmonella contamination in pre-harvest turkey production directly impacts the farm-to-fork continuum to reduce the likelihood of foodborne illness.

To learn more about AviPro Megan Egg and how it can help control Salmonella, including S. Reading that challenge your turkey operation, please contact your Elanco sales team member. 

The label contains complete use information, including cautions and warnings. Always read, understand and follow the label and use directions.



[1]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC investigation notice-Salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey products. 2019. Available at:

[2]Dorea FC, et al. Effect of Salmonella vaccination of breeder chickens on contamination of broiler chicken carcasses in integrated poultry operations. App Env Microbiol. 2010;76(23):7820-5.

[3]Armwood B.T., et al. Assessing the ability of maternal antibodies to protect broiler chicks against colonization of Salmonella Heidelberg. Avian Diseases. 2019;63(2):289-93.

[4]Elanco Animal Health. Data on file.



Salmonella vaccine for poultry


Salmonella Control

Darkling beetle

Connect with Elanco

AviPro, Megan, Elanco and the diagonal bar logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates. © 2021 Elanco.