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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Apr;77(7):2366-73. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01840-09. Epub 2011 Jan 28.

Campylobacter troglodytis sp. nov., isolated from feces of human-habituated wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in Tanzania.

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  • 1Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA.


The transmission of simian immunodeficiency and Ebola viruses to humans in recent years has heightened awareness of the public health significance of zoonotic diseases of primate origin, particularly from chimpanzees. In this study, we analyzed 71 fecal samples collected from 2 different wild chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) populations with different histories in relation to their proximity to humans. Campylobacter spp. were detected by culture in 19/56 (34%) group 1 (human habituated for research and tourism purposes at Mahale Mountains National Park) and 0/15 (0%) group 2 (not human habituated but propagated from an introduced population released from captivity over 30 years ago at Rubondo Island National Park) chimpanzees, respectively. Using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, all isolates were virtually identical (at most a single base difference), and the chimpanzee isolates were most closely related to Campylobacter helveticus and Campylobacter upsaliensis (94.7% and 95.9% similarity, respectively). Whole-cell protein profiling, amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis of genomic DNA, hsp60 sequence analysis, and determination of the mol% G+C content revealed two subgroups among the chimpanzee isolates. DNA-DNA hybridization experiments confirmed that both subgroups represented distinct genomic species. In the absence of differential biochemical characteristics and morphology and identical 16S rRNA gene sequences, we propose to classify all isolates into a single novel nomenspecies, Campylobacter troglodytis, with strain MIT 05-9149 as the type strain; strain MIT 05-9157 is suggested as the reference strain for the second C. troglodytis genomovar. Further studies are required to determine whether the organism is pathogenic to chimpanzees and whether this novel Campylobacter colonizes humans and causes enteric disease.

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