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Employing Source Attribution and Molecular Epidemiology to Measure the Impact of Interventions on Human Campylobacteriosis in Scotland


Campylobacter infections in the UK are not routinely speciated or typed, yet this information adds value to our understanding of the epidemiology of these organisms and to attribution studies that identify where these infections originate from.
A previous Agency funded study using multi-locus sequence typing (project S14006) identified the source of clinical strains as principally chicken (60-80%) with a significant proportion of the remainder being attributable to ruminants. To set a baseline at the start of the five-year foodborne disease strategy we need to repeat this work so that we can monitor to ascertain if human campylobacter infections associated with poultry strains change during the lifetime of the strategy.<P>
This project aims to type the strains of campylobacter associated with human cases of infection and attribute them to their likely source and ascertain if there has been a change in the number of human cases associated with poultry strains.

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Research Approach:<br/>

This project aims to type the strains of campylobacter associated with human cases of infection and attribute them to their likely source. <P>

The project will analyse approximately 1800 clinical isolates from the Grampian Region of Scotland submitted to the hospital laboratory during the period April 2010 to March 2012. An additional 400 campylobacter isolates will be obtained from chickens on retail sale in the North East of Scotland and 200 sheep and 200 cattle campylobacters will be isolated from faeces sampled from animals presented for slaughter at a North East of Scotland abattoir. <P>

Multi-locus sequence typing profiles of all isolates will be obtained, using the high throughput facility at the University of Oxford, which will allow the clinical samples to be compared with the principal source hosts to allow attribution of the proportion of cases of campylobacter infection to retail chicken and ruminant sources.
An associated case questionnaire will be sent to all cases of infection during the study period to identify cases associated with foreign travel and further elucidate the aetiology of this disease. <P>

This findings from this study will enable the FSA to evaluate, monitor, and review our progress in reducing campylobacter in chicken.

University of Aberdeen
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