|dc.description.abstract||Campylobacteriosis in humans due to Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli is the most common
bacterial diarrhoeal disease worldwide. Control measures currently focus on the reduction of
Campylobacter in chickens, as 60-80% of human cases can be attributed to the poultry
reservoir as a whole. However, C. jejuni and C. coli have also been reported in a range of
livestock and wildlife species, including live pheasants. Pheasants reach the consumer’s table
as a by-product of the shooting industry. Approximately 3.5 million game birds are shot in
Scotland every year; however, only 700,000 (20%) are received at Scottish Approved Game
Handling Establishments (AGHEs) for veterinary inspection. Despite this volume of wild
game entering the food chain, there is a lack of information concerning the risk of
campylobacteriosis in humans arising from consumption of wild game meat and the role wild
game birds may have as a reservoir of infection.
This study’s aims were to determine the prevalence of Campylobacter in wild game pheasants
processed in AGHEs in Scotland, to identify the main sequence types (STs) present and to
evaluate their impact on public health.
Scotland was divided into five geographical regions. Five sampling sites and 13 estates were
selected to collect a total of 287 caecal and 59 skin samples from pheasant carcases during the
hunting season 2013/2014. Laboratory isolation of Campylobacter was performed using
standard culture methods and positive caecal samples were subjected to PCR and High
Throughput Multi Locus Sequence Typing (HiMLST).
36.5% of 287 caecal samples (CI 13.9% - 61.2%) were Campylobacter positive while all 59
skin samples were negative. Using PCR, C. coli and C. jejuni accounted for 62.7% and 37.3%
of positive samples tested (n=99), respectively. Nineteen STs of Campylobacter were
recovered from MLST (n=80). Sequence type 828 (n=19) was the most common, followed by
ST827 (n=12) and ST19 (n=7).
Overall, the STs found in pheasants are more common in livestock than chickens, raising the
possibility of cross-infection between pheasants, cattle and sheep in the field. STs 827 and 19
are common in humans and primarily associated with livestock, however, ST828 is primarily
chicken-associated so this also implies direct involvement of poultry in the transmission of
infection to pheasants.
This study suggests that wild game birds are a possible source of Campylobacter infection in
humans and helps in the understanding of risk to humans of pheasant meat consumption.||en