Research – Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli from Houseflies in Commercial Turkey Farms Are Frequently Resistant to Multiple Antimicrobials and Exhibit Pronounced Genotypic Diversity



Campylobacter is a leading foodborne pathogen, and poultry are a major vehicle for infection. Houseflies play important roles in colonization of broiler flocks with Campylobacter but comparable information for turkey farms is limited. Here, we investigated houseflies as potential vectors for Campylobacter in 28 commercial turkey flocks. We characterized species, genotypes, and the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles of Campylobacter from turkey feces and houseflies in the same turkey house. Of the 28 flocks, 25 yielded Campylobacter from turkey droppings and houseflies, with an average of 6.25 and 3.11 Campylobacter log CFU/g feces and log CFU/fly, respectively. Three flocks were negative for Campylobacter both in turkey feces and in houseflies. Both C. coli and C. jejuni were detected in turkey feces and houseflies, with C. coli more likely to be recovered from houseflies than feces. Determination of Campylobacter species, genotypes, and AMR profiles revealed up to six different strains in houseflies from a single house, including multidrug-resistant strains. For the predominant strain types, presence in houseflies was predictive of presence in feces, and vice versa. These findings suggest that houseflies may serve as vehicles for dissemination of Campylobacter, including multidrug-resistant strains, within a turkey house, and potentially between different turkey houses and farms in the same region.

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