Prevalence and Antibiotic Resistance of Campylobacter in Mature Cattle at Harvest

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Title: Prevalence and Antibiotic Resistance of Campylobacter in Mature Cattle at Harvest
Author: Gharst, Gregory A.
Advisors: Daniel Carroll, Committee Member
Dana Hanson, Committee Co-Chair
Sophia Kathariou, Committee Co-Chair
Abstract: Campylobacter is considered to be a leading bacterial cause of acute enteritis in the United States. Campylobacter is found in the fecal material and the gastrointestinal tract of a broad range of animals. It has been suggested that the greatest cause of human infection is cross-contamination and/or the consumption of undercooked meat and poultry products. In the United States there are limited data on the presence of Campylobacter in cattle. This study investigated the prevalence of Campylobacter (C. jejuni and C. coli) as well as the presence of antibiotic resistant strains in mature cattle at slaughter. Representative fecal samples (n = 610) of the day's harvest were taken from the colon of mature cattle older than 30 months of age, over a period of 17 months. Species of Campylobacter isolates were determined by polymerase chain reaction. Pure cultures of Campylobacter were obtained from 143 of the 610 samples (23.4%, SE 1.7%). Of the confirmed Campylobacter-positive samples, the majority (93.0%) yielded C. jejuni, with C. coli recovered from the rest (7.0%). Seasonal data showed that Campylobacter prevalence is somewhat greater during the winter (29.4%) as compared to summer months (20.7%) (P ≤ 0.05). Some of the isolates were resistant to selected antibiotics, with the greatest incidence being resistance to ampicillin (49.7%). The data imply that there may be a human health risk from the colonization of mature cattle at harvest by Campylobacter. Further research needs to be done to evaluate the food safety impact of Campylobacter colonization of cattle.
Date: 2004-11-04
Degree: MS
Discipline: Food Science

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