To better understand the global epidemiology of salmonellosis and the national surveillance programmes used for salmonella infections in humans, we conducted a global survey of the 191 WHO Member States. We gathered information on the total number of salmonella isolates serotyped, and the 15 most commonly isolated serotypes from humans in 1990 and 1995. Of the 104 countries that responded, 76 (73.1%) conducted public health surveillance for salmonella and 69 of these (90.8%) conducted serotyping as part of the surveillance. Fifty-nine countries (56.7% of those responding) provided information about the most commonly isolated serotypes in 1995. Three serotypes, Enteritidis, Typhimurium and Typhi accounted for 76.1% of all isolates reported in 1995. One of these three was the most common serotype identified in 93.2% of countries reporting data for that year. In 1995, Enteritidis was the most frequently isolated serotype in 35 countries, followed by Typhi (12 countries) and Typhimurium (8 countries). The global pandemic of Salmonella Enteritidis continued to expand. The mean national proportion of all salmonella isolates that were Enteritidis increased globally from 25.6% in 1990 to 36.3% in 1995. Serotyping is a frequently used component of a public health response to the global challenge of salmonellosis. Support for serotyping as part of national salmonella surveillance, and for rapid international communication of the results via a new WHO electronic website will help target future prevention strategies.
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