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The Transmission of Thermotolerant Campylobacter spp. to People Living or Working on Dairy Farms in New Zealand


Brent Gilpin. Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd., PO Box 29-181, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Tel.: +64 3 351 6019; Fax: +64 3 351 0010;


New Zealand has one of the highest rates of campylobacteriosis in the developed world with an incidence rate of 383.5 cases per 100 000 in 2006. Dairy farming has been suggested as a potential source of campylobacteriosis. To explore this connection, seven farm investigations were undertaken at dairy farms on which a campylobacteriosis case had been notified. Campylobacter spp. were isolated from a range of sources on the farm (including 66% of bovine faecal samples) and genotypes compared with that of the clinical isolate of the index case. In depth, epidemiological questionnaires were also administered to determine exposure risks from a wide range of possible sources. Contact with dairy cow faeces was the most likely source of infection in four of the seven cases investigated, and occurred exclusively in new farm workers and children. In one of the cases investigated, infection was likely to have been acquired from non-dairy related sources, and in two cases the source could not be determined. The relative risk of dairy farm worker being notified with campylobacteriosis was estimated to be 1.88 (95% confidence interval = 1.6–2.2).