The Salmonella Reference Centre in Johannesburg received 14059 strains of human origin between 1979 and 1984. A significant proportion (6·3%) proved to belong to subspecies II. The majority were cultured from faecal material, usually associated with symptoms related to the gastrointestinal tract. They comprised 884 isolates, represented by 203 serotypes, of which 45 were new serotypes.
The poor hygienic conditions found in many rural areas, together with possible contamination of food and water by wild animals, may contribute to the greater frequency of human S.II infections and the widespread occurrence of unusual serotypes in man in this geographic region.