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Detection of Campylobacter and Escherichia coli O157:H7 from filth flies by polymerase chain reaction

Authors


*A. L. Szalanski, Department of Entomology, University of Arkansas, 319 Agri Bldg, Fayetteville, AR 72701, U.S.A. E-mail: aszalan@uark.edu

Abstract

Abstract.  Flies (Diptera: Muscidae) that breed in faeces and other organic refuse (filth flies) have been implicated as vectors of pathogenic bacteria including Escherichia coli O157:H7, which cause haemorrhagic colitis in humans, and Campylobacter, which is the principal causative agent of human enteritis. The potential role of filth flies in the epidemiology of these pathogens in the United States was investigated by examining the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. and E. coli O157:H7 from two Arkansas turkey facilities. Polymerase chain reaction was conducted on DNA extractions of individual Musca domestica Linnaeus, Stomoxys calcitrans (Linnaeus), Hydrotaea aenescens (Wiedemann), Adia cinerella Fallen and turkey faecal samples using primers specific for E. coli H7, O157 and Campylobacter spp. Culturing verified that the flies were carrying viable Campylobacter spp. and E. coli O157:H7. Results from this study indicated that M. domestica, S. calcitrans, H. aenescens and Anthomyids are capable of carrying Campylobacter in North American poultry facilities and that the E. coli O157:H7 is carried by house flies and black dump flies associated with poultry. This PCR method provided a rapid and effective method to identify Campylobacter spp. and E. coli O157:H7 directly from individual filth flies.

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