Emergence of a Tetracycline-Resistant Campylobacter jejuni Clone Associated with Outbreaks of Ovine Abortion in the United States

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Sahin, Orhan
Jordan, Dianna
Sulaj, Kapllan
Pereira, Sonia
Robbe-Austerman, Suelee
Wang, Liping
Yaeger, Michael
Hoffman, Lorraine
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Plummer, Paul
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
Zhang, Qijing
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Veterinary Pathology
The Department of Veterinary Pathology Labs provides high quality diagnostic service to veterinarians in Iowa and throughout the Midwest. Packages may be delivered through the postage service or by dropping samples off at our lab in Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine campus.
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Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine
Our faculty promote the understanding of causes of infectious disease in animals and the mechanisms by which diseases develop at the organismal, cellular and molecular levels. Veterinary microbiology also includes research on the interaction of pathogenic and symbiotic microbes with their hosts and the host response to infection.
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Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine
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Campylobacter infection is one of the major causes of ovine abortions worldwide. Historically, Campylobacter fetus subsp. fetus was the major cause ofCampylobacter-associated abortion in sheep; however, Campylobacter jejuni is increasingly associated with sheep abortions. We examined the species distribution, genotypes, and antimicrobial susceptibilities of abortion-associatedCampylobacter isolates obtained from multiple lambing seasons on different farms in Iowa, Idaho, South Dakota, and California. We found that C. jejuni has replacedC. fetus as the predominant Campylobacter species causing sheep abortion in the United States. Most strikingly, the vast majority (66 of 71) of the C. jejuni isolates associated with sheep abortion belong to a single genetic clone, as determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, multilocus sequence typing, and cmp gene (encoding the major outer membrane protein) sequence typing. The in vitro antimicrobial susceptibilities of these isolates to the antibiotics that are routinely used in food animal production were determined using the agar dilution test. All of the 74 isolates were susceptible to tilmicosin, florfenicol, tulathromycin, and enrofloxacin, and 97% were sensitive to tylosin. However, all were resistant to tetracyclines, the only antibiotics currently approved in the United States for the treatment of Campylobacter abortion in sheep. This finding suggests that feeding tetracycline for the prevention of Campylobacter abortions is ineffective and that other antibiotics should be used for the treatment of sheep abortions in the United States. Together, these results indicate that a single tetracycline-resistant C. jejuniclone has emerged as the major cause of Campylobacter-associated sheep abortion in the United States.


This article is from Journal of Clinical Microbiology 46 (2008): 1663, doi:10.1128/JCM.00031-08.