Phenotypic and genotypic diversity of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. in commercial Turkey Flocks: A longitudinal study


Poultry are recognized as a main reservoir of Campylobacter spp. However, longitudinal studies investigating the persistence of Campylobacter on commercial meat turkeys are rare. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence, antimicrobial susceptibility, and persistence of genotypically related strains of Campylobacter spp. recovered from three commercial turkey farms in Ohio belonging to a single producer. Eight hundred ten samples were collected from birds aged 1 week to slaughter, consisting of 750 fecal droppings and 60 ceca at slaughter. Overall Campylobacter prevalence was 55.9%. Multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmed 72.3% of all isolates as C. coli, 5.3% as C. jejuni, 10.6% as both, and 11.9% as other Campylobacter spp. PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism of the flaA gene subtyping detected 70 types—62 for C. coli and 8 for C. jejuni isolates—with most (80%) of flaA-types constituting farm homogeneous groups. Multilocus sequence typing of 99 selected Campylobacter isolates resulted in 23 sequence types (STs), consisting of 8 STs for C. jejuni and 15 STs for C. coli isolates. Six novel STs—four for C. jejuni and two—for C. coli, were detected. In a subset of isolates (n = 98) tested for antimicrobial resistance, the most common resistance was to tetracycline (95%), followed by azithromycin (43%), while 42% and 18% of the isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin and erythromycin, respectively. All isolates were susceptible to florfenicol. C. coli isolates displayed a higher proportion of resistance than C. jejuni to most antimicrobials. This study highlights the high prevalence, genotypic diversity, and antimicrobial resistance of Campylobacter spp. in commercial turkey from farm to slaughter.



Poultry, Thermophilic Campylobacter spp., Commercial meat, Campylobacter spp., Commercial turkey