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Identification of Multiple Subtypes of Campylobacter jejuni in Chicken Meat and the Impact on Source Attribution

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Author(s): Megan L. Devane | Brent J. Gilpin | Beth Robson | John D. Klena | Marion G. Savill | John A. Hudson

Journal: Agriculture (Basel)
ISSN 2077-0472

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 579;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: multiple subtypes | chicken carcass | diversity | enrichment | C. jejuni

ABSTRACT
Most source attribution studies for Campylobacter use subtyping data based on single isolates from foods and environmental sources in an attempt to draw epidemiological inferences. It has been suggested that subtyping only one Campylobacter isolate per chicken carcass incurs a risk of failing to recognise the presence of clinically relevant, but numerically infrequent, subtypes. To investigate this, between 21 and 25 Campylobacter jejuni isolates from each of ten retail chicken carcasses were subtyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) using the two restriction enzymes SmaI and KpnI. Among the 227 isolates, thirteen subtypes were identified, the most frequently occurring subtype being isolated from three carcasses. Six carcasses carried a single subtype, three carcasses carried two subtypes each and one carcass carried three subtypes. Some subtypes carried by an individual carcass were shown to be potentially clonally related. Comparison of C. jejuni subtypes from chickens with isolate subtypes from human clinical cases (n = 1248) revealed seven of the thirteen chicken subtypes were indistinguishable from human cases. None of the numerically minor chicken subtypes were identified in the human data. Therefore, typing only one Campylobacter isolate from individual chicken carcasses may be adequate to inform Campylobacter source attribution.
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