Public health significance of Campylobacter spp. colonisation of wild game pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) in Scotland.

Alessandro Seguino, Cosmin Chintoan-Uta, Sionagh Smith, Darren Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial food-borne diarrhoeal disease worldwide. Chicken meat is considered the main source of human infection; however, C. jejuni and C. coli have also been reported in a range of livestock and wildlife species, including pheasants. Wild pheasant meat reaches the consumer’s table because of hunting but there is a lack of information concerning the risk of Campylobacter infection in humans. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of Campylobacter in wild game pheasants in Scotland, to identify the main sequence types (STs) present and to evaluate their impact on public health. A total of 287 caecal samples from five Scottish regions were collected during the hunting season 2013/2014. Campylobacter was detected and enumerated using standard culture methods. PCR and High Throughput Multi Locus Sequence Typing (HiMLST) were used for species identification and sequence typing. In total, 36.6% of 287 caecal samples (n=105; 95% CI: 14-59.2) were Campylobacter positive. Using PCR, 62.6% of samples (n=99) were identified as C. coli and 37.4% as C. jejuni. HiMLST (n=80) identified 19 different STs. ST-828 (n=19) was the most common, followed by ST-827 (n=12) and ST19 (n=7). Sixteen of the 19 STs isolated are present in humans and eight are C. coli STs that account for 6.96% of human infections, although the overall risk to public health from pheasant meat is still considered to be low.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-170
Number of pages8
JournalFood Microbiology
Early online date7 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Apr 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Campylobacter
  • pheasants
  • source attribution
  • food-borne infections
  • gastrointestinal disease
  • zoonoses
  • wild game meat


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