Prevalence, biotypes, plasmid profile and antimicrobial resistance of Campylobacter isolated from wild and domestic animals from Northeast Portugal


Correspondence to: J. Cabrita, Faculdade de Farmácia de Lisboa, Av. das Forças Armadas, 1600 Lisboa, Portugal.


The incidence of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli in wild and producing animals has been studied to evaluate their importance as potential reservoirs of campylobacter infection. These organisms were isolated from: 59 chicken (60.2%), 65 swine (59.1%), 31 black rats (57.4%), 61 sparrows (45.5%), 21 ducks (40.5%), 32 cows (19.5%) and 27 sheep (15.3%). Biotypes, plasmid and resistance profiles were studied in order to characterize the isolates. Biotypes I and II of C. jejuni were predominant in all reservoirs except swine, where C. coli I was more frequent. Plasmid prevalence was higher in strains isolated from swine (53.8%) and rats (45.5%). The size of the plasmids ranged from 1.3 to 82 MDa. A 2.3 MDa plasmid was the most frequent, detected in all the reservoirs except ducks. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing revealed that 5.5% of the strains were resistant to ampicillin, 5.5% to tetracycline, 12.6% to erythromycin and 23.5% to streptomycin. Resistance to erythromycin (26.2%) and to streptomycin (58.4%) was particularly high in isolates from swine. Tetracycline resistance was encoded by a 33 or a 41 MDa plasmid and transferred by conjugation.