Pathogenic potential and genotypic diversity ofCampylobacter jejuni: a neglected food-borne pathogen in Brazil

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Abstract

Purpose and methodology.

Campylobacter jejuni is a major zoonotic pathogen that causes food-borne gastroenteritis worldwide. However, there are only a few studies available that have molecularly characterized C. jejuni strains isolated in Brazil. The aim of this study was to genotype 111 C. jejuni strains isolated from sick humans (43), monkey faeces (19), chicken faeces (14), chicken meat (33) and sewage (2) between 1996 and 2016 in Brazil using flaA-SVR (short variable region) sequencing and PFGE. Furthermore, the presence of 16 virulence genes was analysed by PCR.

Results.

Using PFGE and flaA-SVR sequencing, the 111 C. jejuni strains studied were grouped into three and two clusters, respectively, and some strains of different origin presented a similarity of ≥80 %. In total, 35 flaA-SVR alleles were detected. Alleles gt45, gt49 and gt57 were the most prevalent, in contrast with those frequently described in the PubMLST database. All 111 C. jejuni strains contained the genes flaA, flhA, cadF, docA, cdtA, cdtB, cdtC, iamA, ciaB, sodB, dnaJ, pldA, racR and csrA. The wlaN gene was detected in 11 strains (9.9 %), and the virB11 in just one strain (0.9 %).

Conclusions.

In conclusion, the pathogenic potential of the C. jejuni strains studied was highlighted by the high frequency of the majority of the virulence genes searched. The flaA-SVR sequencing and PFGE results showed that some of the strains studied presented a high genotypic similarity, suggesting potential for transmission between animal sources and humans in this country. Altogether, the results characterize further C. jejuni isolates from Brazil, an important producer and exporter of chicken meat.

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