May 12, 2005
According to recently published research in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, “The goal of the present study was to assess the contribution of real-time molecular typing, used alone or with clinical surveillance, to the prompt identification of clusters of Campylobacter enteritis.
“Potential poultry sources were sought by comparing the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis genotypes of human and fresh whole retail chicken isolates collected during the same study period.”
“Among 183 human isolates, 82 (45%) had unique genotypes, 72 (39%) represented 26 clusters of 2 to 7 isolates each, and 29 (16%) represented three clusters of 8 to 11 isolates each.
“Molecular typing was useful for the confirmation of outbreaks suspected on the basis of epidemiological surveillance, but for most small clusters, no epidemiological link could be established,” reported S. Michaud and coworkers at the University of Sherbrooke.
“Thus, the added value of real-time molecular typing is questionable, since the numerous small clusters identified were of unclear public health significance,” the authors said.
“Among 177 chickens,” continued the authors, “41 (23%) yielded Campylobacter isolates; of these, 19 (46%) had genotypes similar to those of 41 (22%) human isolates.
“However, a temporal association was demonstrated in only a minority of cases, and most genotypes were present only in a single species, suggesting that sources other than chickens are important in human campylobacteriosis.”
“Further investigation with samples from water and other possible environmental sources is needed to define the most efficient strategy for the application of molecular typing and identification of the source(s) of sporadic cases of campylobacteriosis,” scientists concluded.