Poultry is the primary source of Campylobacter
In a new study published in PLoS Genetics, researchers extracted
campylobacter DNA from patients and compared it to campylobacter DNA found in
livestock, wild animals, and the environment.
The researchers developed a new evolutionary model to identify the most
probable source populations. In 97% of cases, chicken, cattle, or sheep were
identified as the source of infection.
In 57% of the cases, the bacteria could be traced to chicken, and in 35% to
cattle. Wild animal and environmental sources were accountable for 3% of
Very few cases were attributable to campylobacter found in wild animals or
The results of the study, therefore, imply that the primary transmission
route is the food chain. These findings also add new impetus to measures that
reduce infection in livestock and prevent food-borne transmission.
The research was led by Daniel Wilson of the University of Chicago, who
stated: "The dual observations that livestock are a frequent source of human
disease isolates and that wild animals and the environment are not, strongly
support the notion that preparation or consumption of infected meat and poultry
is the dominant transmission route."
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