Campylobacter: Prevalence on Pig Livers and Antimicrobial Susceptibility

Around one in 10 of the pig livers tested by researchers in Germany was found to be Campylobacter-positive, with C.coli as the predominant species. These isolates from pigs should be considered as potential sources of human infection, the scientists concluded after studying antimicrobial susceptibility and similarity to human isolates.
calendar icon 28 November 2012
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In a paper published recently in Preventative Veterinary Medicine, Alexandra von Altrock and colleagues at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover Foundation in Germany explain that the objective of their study was to determine the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. on surfaces of slaughtered pig livers.

Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was performed to determine the sequence types (STs) of selected Campylobacter coli isolates.

Additionally, C.coli and Campylobacter jejuni isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility by the broth dilution method. The minimal inhibitory concentrations were determined for erythromycin, gentamicin, ampicillin, ampicillin/sulbactam, nalidixic acid, ciprofloxacin, tetracycline and trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole.

Samples were taken during the slaughtering process in a slaughterhouse in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Overall, 10 per cent of 1,500 surfaces of pig livers from 50 fattening herds was found to be Campylobacter positive, with C.coli as the predominant species (76 per cent) followed by C.jejuni (21 per cent).

Resistance to erythromycin and tetracycline was higher in C.jejuni than in C.coli, however, C.coli were more resistant to quinolone than C.jejuni.

Fluoroquinolone resistance is usually associated with cross-resistance to quinolone but in this investigation, C. coli and C.jejuni showed a higher resistance to ciprofloxacin (28.6 per cent and 20.0 per cent, respectively) than to nalidixic acid (9.5 per cent and 0 per cent, respectively).

High genetic diversity among the C.coli isolates was demonstrated by MLST.

Differences in STs and antimicrobial resistance pattern indicate that the Campylobacter strains originated from the pigs and not from the slaughterhouse.

A comparison of the STs with those reported in the C.jejuni/C. coli PubMLST database showed an overlap of porcine and human isolates, indicating that C.coli isolates from pigs should be considered as potential sources of human infection.


von Altrock A., Hamedy A., Merle R. and Waldmann K.H. 2012. Campylobacter spp.: prevalence on pig livers and antimicrobial susceptibility. Prev Vet Med. 2012 Oct 3. pii: S0167-5877(12)00301-7. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.09.010.

Further Reading

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November 2012
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