Description and sources of contamination by Campylobacter spp. of river water destined for human consumption in Brittany, France

Pathol Biol (Paris). 2011 Oct;59(5):256-63. doi: 10.1016/j.patbio.2009.10.007. Epub 2009 Nov 25.


Presence or absence of Campylobacter spp. in water of five rivers upstream from an intake point for drinking water production was investigated, and isolates genetically compared with human, pig and poultry isolates in order to determine their source. River water and drinking water obtained from these rivers were sampled one time per month, over a period of one year, and tested for Campylobacter. Isolates were typed by PFGE. Campylobacter was not detected in treated drinking water, but 50% of the river samples were contaminated. Contamination was observed on the four seasons. In total, 297 Campylobacter isolates were collected and generated 46 PFGE profiles. Campylobacter jejuni was the most frequently detected species in samples (74.1% of the isolates), followed by Campylobacter coli (17.8%) and Campylobacter lari (8.1%). Forty-two of the 46 PFGE profiles were unique. Only one genotype was detected three times in a river during the year and four genotypes in two different rivers. When compared to animal and human Campylobacter PFGE profiles, 14, 11 and one Campylobacter genotypes from water were genetically closed to human, poultry, and pig Campylobacter genotypes, respectively. The Campylobacter population displayed a high level of genetic diversity, suggesting that contamination originated from various origins. Human, poultry and pig were sources of contamination of the river by Campylobacter. Finally, no Campylobacter were detected in drinking water, indicating that the risk of outbreaks due to consumption of drinking water is low.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Campylobacter / classification
  • Campylobacter / genetics
  • Campylobacter / isolation & purification*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / genetics
  • Campylobacter jejuni / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Drinking Water / microbiology*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • France
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Poultry / microbiology
  • Rivers / microbiology*
  • Seasons
  • Swine / microbiology
  • Water Microbiology*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Drinking Water