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JCM: Campylobacter Outbreaks From Pasteurized and Raw Milk, California

Findings from farm investigations following campylobacteriosis outbreaks linked to contaminated pasteurized milk from a correctional facility and commercial raw milk/raw chocolate colostrum were published in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Clincal Microbiology. The paper, entitled "Using Major Outer Membrane Protein Typing as an Epidemiological Tool To Investigate Outbreaks Caused by Milk-Borne Campylobacter jejuni Isolates in California," describes how investigators tracked human C. jejuni "outbreak strains" to cattle manure sources on both dairies.

Using Major Outer Membrane Protein Typing as an Epidemiological Tool To Investigate Outbreaks Caused by Milk-Borne Campylobacter jejuni Isolates in California

Michele T. Jay-Russella,b, Robert E. Mandrellc,Jean Yuanb,d,*, Anna Batesc, Rosa Manalaca,* Janet Mohle-Boetanib,*, Akiko Kimurab, Janice Lidgardb and William G. Millerc

+ Author Affiliations

aUniversity of California, Davis, Davis, California, USA

bCalifornia Department of Public Health, Richmond, California, USA

cU.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Western Regional Research Center, Albany, California, USA

dEpidemic Intelligence Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

J. Clin. Microbiol. January 2013 vol. 51 no. 1 195-201


We describe using major outer membrane protein (MOMP) typing as a screen to compare the Campylobacter jejuni porA gene sequences of clinical outbreak strains from human stool with the porA sequences of dairy farm strains isolated during two milk-borne campylobacteriosis outbreak investigations in California. The genetic relatedness of clinical and environmental strains with identical or closely related porA sequences was confirmed by multilocus sequence typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis. The first outbreak involved 1,644 C. jejuni infections at 11 state correctional facilities and was associated with consumption of pasteurized milk supplied by an on-site dairy (dairy A) at a prison in the central valley. The second outbreak involved eight confirmed and three suspect C. jejuni cases linked to consumption of commercial raw milk and raw chocolate colostrum at another central valley dairy (dairy B). Both dairies bottled fluid milk on the farm and distributed the finished product to off-site locations. Altogether, C. jejuni was isolated from 7 of 15 (46.7%) bovine fecal, 12 of 20 (60%) flush alley water, and 1 of 20 (5%) lagoon samples collected on dairy A. At dairy B, C. jejuni was cultured from 9 of 26 (34.6%) bovine fecal samples. Environmental strains indistinguishable from the clinical outbreak strains were found in five flush alley water samples (dairy A) and four bovine fecal samples (dairy B). The findings demonstrate that MOMP typing is a useful tool to triage environmental isolates prior to conducting more labor-intensive molecular typing methods.

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