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Pig Journal Volume: 50
Publication date: November 2002

Refereed Section

RISK ASSESSMENT - CAMPYLOBACTER INFECTION TRANSMISSION FROM PIGS TO MAN USING ERYTHROMYCIN RESISTANCE AS A MARKER
D.G.S. Burch

Abstract
The transmission of campylobacter infections from meat to man is considered one of the major routes of spread, along with water contamination, of this increasingly common form of infectious intestinal disease. To make a risk assessment of the likely transmission from pigs to man, a database was established from a variety of references, as there was much variation in the data and few were sufficiently complete to allow for a quantitative assessment to be made. It was noted that erythromycin resistance was very high in pigs for both C. jejuni and C. coli in comparison with man and chicken, thought to be one of the major sources of infection and that this would act as a possible marker to determine the transmission rate of campylobacter spp. from pigs to man.
???? There was no evidence of transmission of C. jejuni from pigs to man, as the organism was rarely isolated in pigs (4%) in comparison with chicken (90%) and man (92%) and erythromycin resistance rates were very low at 2% in man, in chicken (4%) and 35% in pigs. With regard to C. coli, isolation in pigs is very high (96%) but low in chicken (10%) and man (8%) and erythromycin resistance in man (15%) is similar to chickens (15%) but much lower than in pigs (57%). This confirms that pig meat and environmental contamination by slurry/waste from pigs can be considered either a no risk or very low potential risk in the transmission of campylobacter infections to man and therefore also a no risk or very low risk in the transmission of antimicrobially resistant strains to man.

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