During the period January 1998-December 2001, all Danish broiler flocks were monitored bacteriologically for thermophilic campylobacters and isolates were stored at -80 degreesC. Six neighbouring broiler farms in a small community were selected for detailed examination of all Campylobacter jejuni isolated (n = 180) from these farms during 1998-2000 using Penner serotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The area and the farms were selected according to their prevalence of campylobacter so that both farms with low and high frequencies of campylobacter positive flocks were included in the study. The frequency of campylobacter positive flocks on the six farms ranged from 24.5 to 72.7%. One hundred and eighty of the isolates were C. jejuni (included in this study), 14 isolates were C. coli whereas 7 isolates belonged to other species but were not further identified. By serotyping of all C. jejuni 56 isolates (31.5%) were assigned to the 4-complex, 32 isolates (18.0%) to serotype 2, 12 isolates (6.7%) to serotype 11, and 11 isolates (6.2%) were assigned to serotype 12. In three farms, 4-complex was the most prevalent serotype, in one farm it was the second most frequently isolated serotype, while serotypes 2 and 1,44, respectively, were the most frequently isolated from the two remaining farms. This serotype distribution differed from the overall country-wide distribution where serotypes 2 and 1,44 are the most prevalent. All serotype 4-complex isolates from the six selected farms were compared by PFGE to serotype 4-complex isolates from the rest of the country. The results showed that there was a high level of diversity among isolates from the whole country, whereas isolates from the six farms were very homogeneous and only displayed one or a few different PFGE patterns on each farm. It is suggested that certain campylobacter clones persist in a confined geographical area, probably at the farm, and that the broiler houses may be repeatedly infected with a few C. jejuni clones during succeeding broiler flocks. New clones may be introduced, however, the sources and vehicles are yet unknown.
|Journal||Epidemiology and Infection|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|