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Keywords:

  • Campylobacter jejuni ;
  • multilocus sequence typing;
  • environmental reservoirs

Summary

In this study, we investigated the multilocus sequence type (MLST) diversity and population genetics of Campylobacter jejuni isolates collected from the natural waters (n = 57), wild birds (n = 37) and zoo animals (n = 19) in southern Finland, the Helsinki area and the Helsinki Zoo, respectively. On average, we found C. jejuni in 20%, 10.4% or 11.5% of the samples collected from natural waters, wild birds and zoo animals, respectively. High ST diversity was detected in all three sources and 41.2% of the STs were novel, but the multi-host adapted ST-45 was the most common ST detected. The MLST data, supplemented with C. jejuni isolates from domestically acquired human infections (n = 454), poultry (n = 208) and bovines (n = 120), were utilized in a population structure study. The results indicate four groups of strains with varying ecological associations, demonstrating presence of genetically distinct lineages within each of the studied sources. We discovered that the greatest ST overlap occurs between human isolates and isolates from natural waters and poultry, which suggests that the latter two are the most important sources of C. jejuni among domestically acquired infections in Finland.