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Clin Microbiol Rev. 2011 Jan;24(1):174-92. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00034-10.

Taxonomy, epidemiology, and clinical relevance of the genus Arcobacter.

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Unit of Microbiology, Department of Basic Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, IISPV, University Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Spain.


The genus Arcobacter, defined almost 20 years ago from members of the genus Campylobacter, has become increasingly important because its members are being considered emergent enteropathogens and/or potential zoonotic agents. Over recent years information that is relevant for microbiologists, especially those working in the medical and veterinary fields and in the food safety sector, has accumulated. Recently, the genus has been enlarged with several new species. The complete genomes of Arcobacter butzleri and Arcobacter nitrofigilis are available, with the former revealing diverse pathways characteristic of free-living microbes and virulence genes homologous to those of Campylobacter. The first multilocus sequence typing analysis showed a great diversity of sequence types, with no association with specific hosts or geographical regions. Advances in detection and identification techniques, mostly based on molecular methods, have been made. These microbes have been associated with water outbreaks and with indicators of fecal pollution, with food products and water as the suspected routes of transmission. This review updates this knowledge and provides the most recent data on the taxonomy, species diversity, methods of detection, and identification of these microbes as well as on their virulence potential and implication in human and animal diseases.

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