Application of a multiplex PCR assay for Campylobacter fetus detection and subspecies differentiation in uncultured samples of aborted bovine fetuses

J Vet Sci. 2012 Dec;13(4):371-6. doi: 10.4142/jvs.2012.13.4.371.


Campylobacter (C.) fetus (epsilonproteobacteria) is an important veterinary pathogen. This species is currently divided into C. fetus subspecies (subsp.) fetus (Cff) and C. fetus subsp. venerealis (Cfv). Cfv is the causative agent of bovine genital Campylobacteriosis, an infectious disease that leads to severe reproductive problems in cattle worldwide. Cff is a more general pathogen that causes reproductive problems mainly in sheep although cattle can also be affected. Here we describe a multiplex PCR method to detect C. fetus and differentiate between subspecies in a single step. The assay was standardized using cultured strains and successfully used to analyze the abomasal liquid of aborted bovine fetuses without any pre-enrichment step. Results of our assay were completely consistent with those of traditional bacteriological diagnostic methods. Furthermore, the multiplex PCR technique we developed may be easily adopted by any molecular diagnostic laboratory as a complementary tool for detecting C. fetus subspecies and obtaining epidemiological information about abortion events in cattle.

MeSH terms

  • Abomasum / microbiology
  • Aborted Fetus / microbiology*
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Campylobacter Infections / diagnosis
  • Campylobacter Infections / veterinary*
  • Campylobacter fetus / genetics*
  • Campylobacter fetus / isolation & purification
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology*
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary*
  • Pregnancy
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / veterinary
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA Primers
  • Genetic Markers