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. 2011 Sep;77(18):6579-86.
doi: 10.1128/AEM.00428-11. Epub 2011 Jul 22.

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

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Free PMC article

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

Emma L Sproston et al. Appl Environ Microbiol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

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.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Weekly locations of livestock during the 19-week sampling showing when cattle and sheep were mixed, separated, or adjacent to each other. #, no sampling was carried out; †, introduction of grain into cattle diet; ‡, 30 new cattle replaced 30 of the previous herd, field 6 (approximately 1.5 km offsite) and field 7 (approximately 0.5 km offsite). The filled triangles represent cattle, where the large size represents the whole cattle herd (48 cattle), the middle size represents 30 to 33 cattle, and the small size represents 15 to 18 cattle. The squares represent 200 sheep. The different text styles in the weeks of the year (italics, boldface, and regular) indicate 6-week sampling periods 1 to 3.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Campylobacter prevalence in cattle (filled bars) and sheep (open bars), including the 95% binomial confidence intervals (error bars), during each sampling period. *, excluding week 24.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.
Average Campylobacter shedding concentrations in cattle (filled bars) and sheep (open bars) during each sampling period. The error bars represent the 95% CI. *, excluding week 24.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.
Campylobacter reservoir output loads (CFU per day) of cattle (n = 48; black bars), sheep (n = 200; white bars), and all the ruminants included in the study (248; gray bars) calculated from the average shedding and prevalence for each of the 3 sampling times and overall. *, excluding week 24.
Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.
Prevalence of each Campylobacter sequence type and clonal complex isolated from cattle and sheep during the 18 weeks of sampling.
Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.
Temporal prevalence of Campylobacter sequence types in cattle (a) and sheep (b) and the clonal complexes isolated from cattle (c) and sheep (d) during each of the three sampling periods (see the legend to Fig. 5 for symbols). *, excluding week 24.
Fig. 7.
Fig. 7.
Pairwise clustering randomization test to show temporal genetic variation in Campylobacter sequence types isolated from cattle (a) and sheep (b). The straight line shows the linear average and overall trend. The 2 flanking gray lines are the 2.5% and 97.5% confidence levels of the linear average. A diagonal line from left to right shows that the STs become more dissimilar with increasing time difference between collection times; the steeper the gradient, the more dissimilar. A horizontal line for the linear average would show no dissimilarities over time.

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