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Environ Sci Technol. 2006 Dec 1;40(23):7122-31.

Campylobacter in waterfowl and aquatic environments: incidence and methods of detection.

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Department of Biology, Umm Al-Qura University, P.O. Box 7388, Makkah 21955, Saudi Arabia.


Campylobacters are emerging as one of the most significant causes of human infections worldwide, and the role that waterfowl and the aquatic environment have in the spread of disease is beginning to be elucidated. On a world scale campylobacters are possibly the major cause of gastrointestinal infections. Campylobacters are common commensals in the intestinal tract of many species of wild birds, including waterfowl. They are also widely distributed in aquatic environments where their origins may include waterfowl as well as sewage effluents and agricultural runoff. Campylobacters have marked seasonal trends. In temperate aquatic environments they peak during winter, whereas spring-summer is the peak period for human infection. Campylobacter species may survive, and remain potentially pathogenic, for long periods in aquatic environments. The utility of bacterial fecal indicators in predicting the presence of campylobacters in natural waters is questionable. Viable but nonculturable Campylobacter cells may occur, but whether they have any role in the generation of outbreaks of campylobacteriosis is unclear. The routine detection of Campylobacter spp. in avian feces and environmental waters largely relies on conventional culture methods, while the recognition of a particular species or strain is based on serotyping and increasingly on molecular methods. Thus, PCR combined with selective enrichment enhances the detection of campylobacters in water and feces, while DNA sequencing facilitates recognition of particular species and strains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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