Prevalence of Campylobacter jejuni, Campylobacter lari, and Campylobacter coli in different ecological guilds and taxa of migrating birds

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Abstract

A total of 1,794 migrating birds trapped at a coastal site in southern Sweden were sampled for detection of Campylobacter spp. All isolates phenotypically identified as Campylobacter jejuni and a subset of those identified as non-C. jejuni were identified to the species level by PCR-based techniques. C. jejuni was found in 5.0% of the birds, Campylobacter lari was found in 5.6%, and Campylobacter coli was found in 0.9%. An additional 10.7% of the tested birds were infected with hippurate hydrolysis-negative Campylobacter spp. that were not identified to the species level. The prevalence of Campylobacter spp. differed significantly between ecological guilds of birds. Shoreline-foraging birds feeding on invertebrates and opportunistic feeders were most commonly infected (76.8 and 50.0%, respectively). High prevalence was also shown in other ground-foraging guilds, i.e., ground-foraging invertebrate feeders (11.0%), ground-foraging insectivores (20.3%), and plant-eating species (18.8%). Almost no Campylobacter spp. were found in ground-foraging granivores (2.3%), arboreal insectivores (0.6%), aerial insectivores (0%), or reed- and herbaceous plant-foraging insectivores (3.5%). During the autumn migration, a high proportion of samples from juveniles were positive (7.1% in passerines, 55.0% in shorebirds), indicating transmission on the breeding grounds or during the early part of migration. Prevalence of Campylobacter spp. was associated with increasing body mass among passerine bird species. Furthermore, prevalence was higher in short-distance migrants wintering in Europe than in long-distance migrants wintering in Africa, the Middle East, or Asia. Among ground-foraging birds of the Muscicapidae, those of the subfamily Turdinae (i.e., Turdus spp.) showed a high prevalence of Campylobacter spp., while the organism was not isolated in any member of the subfamily Muscicapinae (i.e., Erithacus and Luscinia). The prevalence of Campylobacter infection in wild birds thus seems to be linked to various ecological and phylogenetic factors, with great variations in carriership between different taxa and guilds.

Details

Authors
  • Jonas Waldenström
  • Tina Broman
  • Inger Carlsson
  • Dennis Hasselquist
  • René P. Achterberg
  • Jaap A. Wagenaar
  • Björn Olsen
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5911-5917
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume68
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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