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Multilocus sequence types of Finnish bovine Campylobacter jejuni isolates and their attribution to human infections

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2180-10-200

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Abstract:

In the first phase we analysed sequence types (STs) of 102 Finnish bovine C. jejuni isolates by MLST and found a high diversity totalling 50 STs of which nearly half were novel. In the second phase we included MLST data from domestic human isolates as well as poultry C. jejuni isolates from the same time period. Between the human and bovine isolates we found an overlap of 72.2%, while 69% of the human isolates were overlapping with the chicken isolates. In the BAPS analysis 44.3% of the human isolates were found in bovine-associated BAPS clusters and 45.4% of the human isolates were found in the poultry-associated BAPS cluster. BAPS reflected the phylogeny of our data very well.These findings suggest that bovines and poultry were equally important as reservoirs for human C. jejuni infections in Finland in 2003. Our results differ from those obtained in other countries where poultry has been identified as the most important source for human infections. The low prevalence of C. jejuni in poultry flocks in Finland could explain the lower attribution of human infection to poultry. Of the human isolates 10.3% were found in clusters not associated with any host which warrants further investigation, with particular focus on waterborne transmission routes and companion animals.Campylobacter jejuni is the most common bacterial cause of human gastroenteritis worldwide [1]. In many European countries, including Finland, the number of laboratory confirmed C. jejuni infections doubled in the last decade [2]. In Finland, approximately 4500 cases were reported in 2008 [3], with an incidence of 85/100 000 inhabitants.Campylobacter outbreaks are relatively uncommon in industrialized countries, and most of the cases occur sporadically [1]. As a consequence, the sources of infection remain mostly unknown. Epidemiological studies in different countries indicate that eating improperly cooked meat and handling chicken carcasses are important risk factors for acquiring the illness [1,4].

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