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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #156064


item Harvey, Roger
item Droleskey, Robert - Bob
item Sheffield, Cynthia
item Edrington, Thomas
item Callaway, Todd
item Anderson, Robin
item Ziprin, Richard
item Nisbet, David

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/21/2004
Publication Date: 7/1/2004
Citation: Harvey, R.B., Droleskey, R.E., Sheffield, C.L., Edrington, T.S., Callaway, T.R., Anderson, R.C., Drinnon, D.L., Ziprin, R.L., Nisbet, D.J. 2004. Campylobacter prevalence in lactating dairy cows. Journal of Food Protection. 67:1476-1479.

Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter are bacteria that can occur on food of animal origin and make people sick. This bacteria is now recognized as the leading cause of food-borne disease in developed countries. Medical expenses and lost productivity associated with this disease amount to billions of dollars annually. The present study investigated the prevalence of Campylobacter in U.S. dairy cows. The results suggest that the amount of Campylobacter in lactating dairy cows in the United States is low. This information is important because it defines the potential human disease risk from the dairy food chain, and with the knowledge gained from this research, we will be better able to reduce that risk.

Technical Abstract: The objective of the present study was to determine the prevalence of intestinal Campylobacter in lactating dairy cows from various regions of the United States. Participating commercial dairy farms were chosen at random and were part of a national survey to determine E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella prevalence in dairy cows. Farms had no previous history of Campylobacter problems. Fecal samples were collected rectally from 720 cows on farms in the Northeast (4 farms), in the desert Southwest (3 farms), and in the Pacific West (2 farms). A minimum of 60 fecal samples per visit were collected from each farm. Samples were individually identified, placed into sterile plastic bags, and transported on ice to the laboratory within 24 h of collection. Feces were streaked directly onto Campy-Cephex agar plates and incubated at 42° C for 48 h under microaerophilic (5% O2, 10 % CO2, 85% N2) conditions. Thirty-three isolates were analyzed using the RiboPrinter® Microbial Characterization System to obtain ribosomal RNA patterns. Twenty-three isolates were classified as C. jejuni, 2 were C. coli, 3 were Campylobacter spp., and 5 were unknown. Farm prevalence ranged from 3.33% to 6.66% and the highest prevalence for any individual farm visit (single sample period) was 10%. The disk diffusion method, employing 11 antibiotics, was used to test the antibiotic sensitivities of 27 of the isolates. Eight isolates were resistant to 2 or more antibiotics whereas 19 isolates were resistant to 0 or 1 antibiotic. Under the conditions of this study, the authors conclude that Campylobacter prevalence in lactating dairy cows in the U.S. is low, there is no difference in prevalence on the basis of geographical location, the predominant species is C. jejuni, and that the majority of these isolates are sensitive to antibiotics.