Submitted to: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Arcobacter spp. are a new group of bacteria which are found in hogs, poultry, and water, and cause human disease. They resemble and are closely related to Campylobacter jejuni, which is a major cause of human foodborne illness. We conducted field surveys to determine the distribution of Arcobacter spp. and C. jejuni in dairy cows. We analyzed on-farm management factors which could be associated with infection of dairy cattle. Manure disposal methods and type of feed were linked with infection with C. jejuni. For Arcobacter, type of feed and source of water protected against infection. This is the first description of Arcobacter spp. in clinically healthy dairy cattle and the first attempt to correlate its presence with C. jejuni. Information gained from this study will benefit action agencies, such as FSIS, APHIS, and FDA, to assess risks for animal or human disease caused by C. jejuni and Arcobacter.
Technical Abstract: Campylobacter jejuni, Campylobacter coli, and Arcobacter were detected in feces of healthy dairy cows by highly specific multiplex PCR assays. For C. jejuni, at this one-time sampling, 80.6% operations (n=31) and 23.5% of individual dairy cattle fecal samples (n=2,085) were positive. Campylobacter coli was detected in 19.4% of operations and 1.8% of individual cows (n=2,085). Management factors were correlated for prevalence in herds in which >25% of cows were positive for C. jejuni. Statistical significance was set at p = 0.20. Using these criteria, application of manure with broadcast spreaders (p = 0.169), feeding whole cotton seed or hulls (p = 0.174) or alfalfa (p = 0.151), and accessibility to feed to birds (p = 0.172) were identified as possible risk factors for C. jejuni infection. For Arcobacter, 71% of dairy operations (n=31) and 14.3% of individual dairy cattle fecal samples (n=1,682) were positive. At the herd level, for Arcobacter spp., feeding alfalfa ( p = 0.106) and use of individual waterers (p = 0.185) were protective. This is the first description of Arcobacter spp. in clinically healthy dairy cattle and the first attempt to correlate its presence with C. jejuni.