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J Clin Microbiol. 1999 Dec;37(12):3860-4.

Large-scale survey of Campylobacter species in human gastroenteritis by PCR and PCR-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

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  • 1Molecular Biology Unit, Virus Reference Division, Central Public Health Laboratory, London NW9 5HT, United Kingdom.


A PCR-based study of the incidence of enteropathogenic campylobacter infection in humans was done on the basis of a detection and identification algorithm consisting of screening PCRs and species identification by PCR-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. This was applied to DNA extracted from 3,738 fecal samples from patients with sporadic cases of acute gastroenteritis, submitted by seven regional Public Health Laboratories in England and Wales over a 2-year period. The sending laboratories had cultured "Campylobacter spp." from 464 samples. The PCR methodologies detected 492 Campylobacter-positive samples, and the combination of culture and PCR yielded 543 Campylobacter-positive samples. There was identity (overlap) for 413 samples, but 79 PCR-positive samples were culture negative, and 51 culture-positive samples were PCR negative. While there was no statistically significant difference between PCR and culture in detection of C. jejuni-C. coli (PCR, 478 samples; culture, 461 samples), PCR provided unique data about mixed infections and non-C. jejuni and non- C. coli campylobacters. Mixed infections with C. jejuni and C. coli were found in 19 samples, and mixed infection with C. jejuni and C. upsaliensis was found in one sample; this was not apparent from culture. Eleven cases of gastroenteritis were attributed to C. upsaliensis by PCR, three cases were attributed to C. hyointestinalis, and one case was attributed to C. lari. This represents the highest incidence of C. hyointestinalis yet reported from human gastroenteritis, while the low incidence of C. lari suggests that it is less important in this context.

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