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Fecal Shedding of Campylobacter and Arcobacter spp. in Dairy Cattle

  • I. V. Wesley
  • S. J. Wells
  • K. M. Harmon
  • A. Green
  • L. Schroeder-Tucker
  • M. Glover
  • I. Siddique
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
May 01, 2000


Campylobacter jejuni, Campylobacter coli, and Arcobacter spp. were detected in feces of healthy dairy cows by highly specific multiplex-PCR assays. For C. jejuni, at this one-time sampling, cows from 80.6% of farm operations (n = 31) and 37.7% of individual dairy cattle fecal samples (n = 2,085) were positive. Farm management factors were correlated with prevalence in herds in which >25% of cows were positive for C. jejuni. Statistical significance was set at a P of 0.20. Using these criteria, application of manure with broadcast spreaders (P = 0.17), feeding of whole cottonseed or hulls (P = 0.17) or alfalfa (P = 0.15), and accessibility of feed to birds (P = 0.17) were identified as possible risk factors for C. jejuni infection. C. coli was detected in at least one animal in 19.4% of operations and 1.8% of individual cows (n = 2,085). At the herd level, use of broadcaster spreaders was not a risk factor for C. coli infection. For Arcobacter, cows from 71% of dairy operations (n = 31) and 14.3% of individual dairy cattle fecal samples (n = 1,682) were positive. At the herd level, for Arcobacter spp., feeding of alfalfa (P = 0.11) and use of individual waterers (P = 0.19) were protective. This is the first description of Arcobacter spp. in clinically healthy dairy cattle and the first attempt to correlate their presence with C. jejuni.

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