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Temporal Variation and Host Association in the Campylobacter Population in a Longitudinal Ruminant Farm Study

Sproston, Emma L., Ogden, Iain D., MacRae, Marion, Dallas, John F., Sheppard, Samuel K., Cody, Alison J., Colles, Frances M., Wilson, Michael J., Forbes, Ken J., Strachan, Norval J. C.
Applied and environmental microbiology 2011 v.77 no.18 pp. 6579-6586
Campylobacter jejuni, cattle, farms, feces, hosts, sheep, temporal variation
Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli were quantified and typed, using multilocus sequence typing (MLST), from fecal samples collected from a mixed cattle and sheep farm during summer. Cattle had a significantly higher prevalence than sheep (21.9% [74/338] and 14.0% [30/214], respectively), but both decreased over time. There were no differences in the average Campylobacter concentrations shed by cattle (600 CFU g–1) and sheep (820 CFU g–1), although sheep did show a significant temporal reduction in the number of Campylobacter organisms shed in their feces. A total of 21 different sequence types (STs) (97.7% C. jejuni, 2.3% C. coli) were isolated from cattle, and 9 different STs were isolated from sheep (40.6% C. jejuni, 59.4% C. coli). The Campylobacter population in cattle was relatively stable, and the frequencies of genotypes isolated showed little temporal variation. However, the composition of subtypes isolated from sheep did show significant temporal differences. The cattle and sheep consistently showed significant differences in their carriage of Campylobacter species, STs, and CCs despite the fact that both were exposed to the same farming environment. This work has highlighted the patterns of a Campylobacter population on a ruminant farm by identifying the existence of both temporal and between-host variations.