Infectious Diseases 2009

Infectious Diseases 2009

Sources of Campylobacter Infection in Scotland

12 May, 2009 A new report entitled The Molecular Epidemiology of Scottish Campylobacter Isolates from Human Cases of Infection using Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST) has been published by the Food Standards Agency Scotland (FSAS) on research that was led by Dr Ken Forbes. 
Clinical Campylobacter infections comprise two species, C. jejuni and C. coli, and contributes to half of all reported cases of infectious intestinal disease in the UK, imposing a continuing healthcare burden. Approximately seven unreported cases occur for each reported case, and the likely total imposes an annual economic burden of £0.5 bn. Potential infection sources occur in animal and bird faeces in the environment and in animal meats in the food chain.
The present study clearly identified retail chicken as the single largest source of clinical Campylobacter infection in Scotland, consistent with well-known Campylobacter prevalence and bacterial loads in broiler chickens and with case-control studies on Campylobacter epidemiology.
The present study also identified farm ruminants as sources, for which infection routes are uncertain and confirming studies are rare. According to these findings, human Campylobacter infection can only be reduced when Campylobacter prevalence and concentration in retail poultry are reduced and infection routes from farm ruminants identified.