Campylobacter jejuni ST50, a pathogen of global importance: A comparative genomic analysis of isolates from Australia, Europe and North America

Rhiannon L. Wallace, Danielle M. Cribb, Dieter M. Bulach, Danielle J. Ingle, Katrine G. Joensen, Eva Møller Nielsen, Pimlapas Leekitcharoenphon, Kerstin Stingl, Martyn D. Kirk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Campylobacter jejuni is the leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis globally, and infections are often transmitted through consumption of raw or undercooked poultry. Campylobacter jejuni ST50 is among the top ten sequence types (STs) reported in the collected isolates listed at PubMLST records from poultry, food and clinical sources for Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America. This study was designed to determine the most commonly reported C. jejuni STs globally using the PubMLST database and assess similarities between genomes of C. jejuni ST50 isolates from geographically distinct locations. To gain a better understanding of C. jejuni diversity, we compared draft genome sequences of 182 ST50 isolates recovered from retail or caecal poultry samples in Oceania, Europe and North America that were collected over a period of 9 years (2010 to 2018). Overall, phylogenetic analysis revealed that isolates from geographically distinct locations tended to cluster based on the continent where the sample was collected. Among ST50 isolates from Europe and North America, we identified resistance determinants associated with phenotypic resistance to beta-lactams (EU: 55%; GB: 43.1%), tetracyclines (CA: 77.3%; EU: 37.5%; GB: 9.8%; US: 43.5%) and fluoroquinolones (EU: 60.0%; GB: 15.7%); no resistance determinants were identified in isolates from Australia. In general, the majority of the virulence genes, with rare exceptions such as wlaN, cj1138, hddA and rfbC, were evenly distributed throughout the genomes of all ST50 isolates in this study. Genomic-based characterization of C. jejuni ST50 isolates from poultry on three continents highlighted that geographically distinct isolates have evolved independently but only represent a glimpse into the diversity of C. jejuni.
Original languageEnglish
JournalZoonoses and Public Health
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)638-649
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council grant (NHMRC GNT1116294), AgriFutures, Australian Government Department of Health, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, New South Wales Food Authority, Queensland Health and ACT Health. Australian whole‐genome sequences and metadata were obtained from the CampySource study (2016‐2020), led by Prof. Martyn Kirk, that aims to understand the sources of in Australia. The authors thank Dr Chris Whitehouse (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for sharing additional metadata to compliment the sequence data obtained from NCBI for the USA isolates. The authors thank Dr Catherine Carrillo (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and Dr Eduardo Taboada (Public Health Agency of Canada) for sharing draft genome sequences and respective metadata for the isolates collected in Canada. Campylobacter C. jejuni

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Chicken
  • ST50
  • Virulence
  • Whole-genome sequencing


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