U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


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Tang Y, Meinersmann RJ, Sahin O, Wu Z, Dai L, Carlson J, Plumblee Lawrence J, Genzlinger L, LeJeune JT, Zhang Q. 2017. Wide but variable distribution of a hypervirulent Campylobacter jejuni clone in beef and dairy cattle in the United States. Appl Environ Microbiol 83:e01425-17. https://doi.org/10 .1128/AEM.01425-17.


© 2017 Tang et al. This is an openaccess article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.


Campylobacter jejuni clone SA is the major cause of sheep abortion and contributes significantly to foodborne illnesses in the United States. Clone SA is hypervirulent because of its distinct ability to produce systemic infection and its predominant role in clinical sheep abortion. Despite the importance of clone SA, little is known about its distribution and epidemiological features in cattle. Here we describe a prospective study on C. jejuni clone SA prevalence in 35 feedlots in 5 different states in the United States and a retrospective analysis of clone SA in C. jejuni isolates collected by National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) dairy studies in 2002, 2007, and 2014. In feedlot cattle feces, the overall prevalence of Campylobacter organisms was 72.2%, 82.1% of which were C. jejuni. Clone SA accounted for 5.8% of the total C. jejuni isolates, but its prevalence varied by feedlot and state. Interestingly, starlings on the feedlots harbored C. jejuni in feces, including clone SA, suggesting that these birds may play a role in the transmission of Campylobacter. In dairy cattle, the overall prevalence of clone SA was 7.2%, but a significant decrease in the prevalence was observed from 2002 to 2014. Whole-genome sequence analysis of the dairy clone SA isolates revealed that it was genetically stable over the years and most of the isolates carried the tetracycline resistance gene tet(O) in the chromosome. These findings indicate that clone SA is widely distributed in both beef and dairy cattle and provide new insights into the molecular epidemiology of clone SA in ruminants.

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