MLST-based genetic relatedness of Campylobacter jejuni isolated from chickens and humans in Poland

PLoS One. 2020 Jan 24;15(1):e0226238. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226238. eCollection 2020.


Campylobacter jejuni infection is one of the most frequently reported foodborne bacterial diseases worldwide. The main transmission route of these microorganisms to humans is consumption of contaminated food, especially of chicken origin. The aim of this study was to analyze the genetic relatedness of C. jejuni from chicken sources (feces, carcasses, and meat) and from humans with diarrhea as well as to subtype the isolates to gain better insight into their population structure present in Poland. C. jejuni were genotyped using multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and sequence types (STs) were assigned in the MLST database. Among 602 isolates tested, a total of 121 different STs, including 70 (57.9%) unique to the isolates' origin, and 32 STs that were not present in the MLST database were identified. The most prevalent STs were ST464 and ST257, with 58 (9.6%) and 52 (8.6%) C. jejuni isolates, respectively. Isolates with some STs (464, 6411, 257, 50) were shown to be common in chickens, whereas others (e.g. ST21 and ST572) were more often identified among human C. jejuni. It was shown that of 47 human sequence types, 26 STs (106 isolates), 23 STs (102 isolates), and 29 STs (100 isolates) were also identified in chicken feces, meat, and carcasses, respectively. These results, together with the high and similar proportional similarity indexes (PSI) calculated for C. jejuni isolated from patients and chickens, may suggest that human campylobacteriosis was associated with contaminated chicken meat or meat products or other kinds of food cross-contaminated with campylobacters of chicken origin. The frequency of various sequence types identified in the present study generally reflects of the prevalence of STs in other countries which may suggest that C. jejuni with some STs have a global distribution, while other genotypes may be more restricted to certain countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques / methods*
  • Campylobacter Infections / epidemiology
  • Campylobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / classification
  • Campylobacter jejuni / genetics*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / isolation & purification
  • Chickens
  • Diarrhea / diagnosis*
  • Diarrhea / genetics
  • Diarrhea / microbiology
  • Foodborne Diseases / epidemiology
  • Foodborne Diseases / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Meat / microbiology
  • Multilocus Sequence Typing / methods*
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Prevalence

Grants and funding

This study was financially supported by National Science Centre, Poland, on the basis of Decision UMO-2014/15/B/NZ7/00874 (JO). The present work was in part supported by the One Health EJP project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773830 (2018-2022) (KW). Both funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.