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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Jun;74(12):3626-33. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01669-07. Epub 2008 Apr 18.

Longitudinal study of the molecular epidemiology of Campylobacter jejuni in cattle on dairy farms.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Medicine, University of Manchester, Clinical Sciences Building, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester M13 9WL, United Kingdom.


Multilocus sequence typing (MLST), an accurate and phylogenetically robust characterization method for population studies of Campylobacter, was applied to Campylobacter jejuni isolates (n = 297) from the fecal samples of cattle from five dairy farms in Cheshire, United Kingdom, collected throughout 2003. The population dynamics of the C. jejuni strains, as identified by the occurrence of sequence types and clonal complexes, demonstrated variations within and between cattle populations over time. Three clonal lineages have emerged to predominate among the cattle isolates, namely, the ST-61 complex (24.2%), ST-21 complex (23.6%), and ST-42 complex (20.5%). This provided further evidence that the ST-61 clonal complex may present a cattle-adapted C. jejuni genotype. In addition, the ST-42 clonal complex may also represent an important cattle-associated genotype. Strong geographical associations for these genotypes were also found among the farms. This is the first longitudinal study and the largest study to date for C. jejuni involving cattle populations using MLST for accurate strain characterization. This study shows the important associations between cattle and C. jejuni clonal complexes ST-61, ST-21, and ST-42, and it suggests that cattle and/or dairy products are likely to be a source of the human Campylobacter gastroenteritis caused by such genotypes. The reported findings have significant implications for the design of effective intervention strategies for disease control and prevention.

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