Following oral or systemic infection with Salmonella typhimurium, the focus of infection is in the liver and spleen. The majority of Salmonella surviving in the liver and spleen by 4 h post infection are already in an environment where they are largely protected from subsequent killing. Previous studies have shown that the majority of surviving Salmonella are intracellular. In the present study we sought to determine the cell type containing most of the cell-associated Salmonella liberated from the spleen. We enriched for Salmonella-containing cells by Ficoll-Hypaque separation followed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Approximately 85% of the total intracellular Salmonella were found in Mac-1+/J-11d+ cell fractions of the Ficoll-Hypaque band and pellet. By microscopic examination of stained cells from the sorted cell populations, it was evident that virtually all of the Salmonella were in polymorphonuclear cells (PMN). The numbers of Salmonella observed microscopically were similar in numbers to Salmonella colony forming units detected by plating. Salmonella containing PMN in the Ficoll band generally contained a single bacterium, while those from the probably less healthy cells in the Ficoll pellet generally contained several Salmonella. © 1992.