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Environ Microbiol. 2009 Jan;11(1):258-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01773.x. Epub 2008 Sep 29.

Dynamics of Campylobacter colonization of a natural host, Sturnus vulgaris (European starling).

Author information

1
The Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3SY, UK. frances.colles@zoo.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

Wild European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) shed Campylobacter at high rates, suggesting that they may be a source of human and farm animal infection. A survey of Campylobacter shedding of 957 wild starlings was undertaken by culture of faecal specimens and genetic analysis of the campylobacters isolated: shedding rates were 30.6% for Campylobacter jejuni, 0.6% for C. coli and 6.3% for C. lari. Genotyping by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and antigen sequence typing established that these bacteria were distinct from poultry or human disease isolates with the ST-177 and ST-682 clonal complexes possibly representing starling-adapted genotypes. There was seasonal variation in both shedding rate and genotypic diversity, both exhibiting a maximum during the late spring/early summer. Host age also affected Campylobacter shedding, which was higher in younger birds, and turnover was rapid with no evidence of cross-immunity among Campylobacter species or genotypes. In nestlings, C. jejuni shedding was evident from 9 days of age but siblings were not readily co-infected. The dynamics of Campylobacter infection of starlings differed from that observed in commercial poultry and consequently there was no evidence that wild starlings represent a major source of Campylobacter infections of food animals or humans.

PMID:
18826435
PMCID:
PMC2702492
DOI:
10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01773.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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