Aim: To estimate the prevalence of thermotolerant Campylobacter spp. in commercially reared partridges (Perdix perdix) in southern Italy.
Methods and Results: Cloacal swabs of partridges (n = 240), equally distributed between male and female birds, from a game bird farm located in the Southern Italy were examined for the prevalence of thermotolerant Campylobacter spp. The samples were processed in order to detect thermotolerant Campylobacter spp. by culture methods. The positive samples were then confirmed by multiplex polymerase chain reaction. Thermotolerant Campylobacter spp. were isolated from 118 (49·2%) of the 240 cloacal swabs examined. As proved by PCR, 100% of the strains were identified as Campylobacter coli (118/118), and 15 (12·7%) out of the 118 positive samples were also positive for Campylobacter jejuni. In contrast, Campylobacter lari was not identified. Adult partridges showed a significantly higher prevalence (P < 0·05) than younger ones.
Conclusion: These results reinforce the assumption that game birds may be considered as potential carriers of Campylobacter spp. for human being and other animal species.
Significance and Impact of the Study: Although an earlier 1986 publication described the prevalence of Campylobacter coli in commercially reared partridges, this is the first report to confirm the species of Campylobacter using a PCR test.