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Validation of Methods for Detection of Campylobacter in Veterinary Patients

Lawhon, Sara D; Zhang, Shuping; Suchodolski, Jan
Texas A&M AgriLife Research
Start date
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PROJECT SUMMARY: Campylobacter infection is a leading cause of human foodborne illness in the United States. Although human campylobacteriosis is usually associated with the consumption of contaminated food, pets can be another source of infection. Dogs and cats are not commonly thought of as a source for human infection, but Campylobacter carriage is well-recognized in these pets. Risk factors for Campylobacter infection in dogs and cats include consumption of raw meat diets and contaminated treats such as uncooked beef bones. People can be exposed to Campylobacter when handling contaminated pet food and treats or feces from infected pets. Despite recognition of these cases and the potential risk of campylobacteriosis in dogs and cats, Campylobacter culture is not routinely performed in these species. We propose to validate diagnostic culture and molecular methods to detect Campylobacter shedding in dogs and cats because:

  1. Campylobacter infection is well-recognized in dogs and cats;
  2. dogs and cats live in close association with people, particularly children;
  3. canine and feline shedding of Campylobacter spp. is well-recognized and associated with human infection;
  4. dogs and cats are not routinely screened for Campylobacter shedding despite recognition of the risk of Campylobacter infection in dogs and cats; and
  5. the absence of standardized methods for Campylobacter detection make it difficult to compare studies from different geographic areas and different laboratories.

  6. We will validate both culture and molecular methods and test these methods in 3 independent, blinded laboratories with Campylobacter spiked test samples and ultimately test the methods on fecal samples from canine patients with diarrhea. Additionally, the collaborative effort of test validation and sample exchange between the 4 collaborating laboratories will strengthen the ties between these Vet-LIRN laboratories thereby promoting seamless interactions during actual emergency related events.
Funding Source
Food and Drug Administration
Project source
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Project number
Bacterial Pathogens