Comparison of genotypes and antibiotic resistance of Campylobacter jejuni isolated from humans and slaughtered chickens in Switzerland


Bożena Korczak, Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology, University of Bern, Laenggass-Str. 122, CH-3001 Bern, Switzerland. E-mail:


Aims:  To get an overview of genotypes and antibiotic resistances in Swiss Campylobacter jejuni implicated in human gastroenteritis and to examine the association with isolates from chickens.

Methods and Results:  Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and flaB typing were applied to 136 human clinical isolates. Phenotypic resistance to 12 antimicrobials and genotypic resistance to macrolides and quinolones were determined. MLST resulted in 35 known and six new sequence types (ST). The flaB analysis revealed 35 different types, which – in combination with MLST – increased the resolution of the typing approach. Resistance to quinolones, tetracycline and ampicillin was found in 37·5, 33·1 and 8·1% of the isolates, respectively, whereas macrolide resistance was found only once. Genotypic and phenotypic resistance correlated in all cases. A comparison to Camp. jejuni isolated from slaughtered chickens was performed. While 86% of the quinolone-sensitive human isolates showed overlapping MLST-flaB types with those of chicken origin, resistant strains showed only 39% of matching types.

Conclusion:  Mainly quinolone-sensitive Camp. jejuni strains implicated in human campylobacteriosis showed matching genotypes with isolates originating from chickens.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  A large proportion of human cases in Switzerland are likely to originate from domestic chickens, confirming that prevention measures in the poultry production are important.