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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Dec;74(24):7715-22. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00865-08. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Multilocus sequence typing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and fla short variable region typing of clonal complexes of Campylobacter jejuni strains of human, bovine, and poultry origins in Luxembourg.

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National Health Laboratory, Microbiology, P.O. Box 1102, L-1011 Luxembourg, Luxembourg.


Campylobacter jejuni is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in Luxembourg, with a marked seasonal peak during summer. The majority of these infections are thought to be sporadic, and the relative contribution of potential sources and reservoirs is still poorly understood. We monitored human cases from June to September 2006 (n = 124) by molecular characterization of isolates with the aim of rapidly detecting temporally related cases. In addition, isolates from poultry meat (n = 36) and cattle cecal contents (n = 48) were genotyped for comparison and identification of common clusters between veterinary and human C. jejuni populations. A total of 208 isolates were typed by sequencing the fla short variable region, macrorestriction analysis resolved by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). We observed a high diversity of human strains during a given summer season. Poultry and human isolates had a higher diversity of sequence types than isolates of bovine origin, for which clonal complexes CC21 (41.6%) and CC61 (18.7%) were predominant. CC21 was also the most common complex found among human isolates (21.8%). The substantial concordance between PFGE and MLST results for this last group of strains suggests that they are clonally related. Our study indicates that while poultry remains an important source, cattle could be an underestimated reservoir of human C. jejuni cases. Transmission mechanisms of cattle-specific strains warrant further investigation.

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