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Milkborne Campylobacter Infection in Hungary

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In April 1998, an annual 2-day animal farm sale was held in Hódmezővásárhely, where 500 to 600 visitors consumed unpasteurized milk. The first signs of disease began 2 days after the end of the sale. Fifty-two people from a wide age range fell ill, primarily with inflammatory enteritis. These cases included 34 with Campylobacter positivity: 30 with Campylobacter jejuni and 4 with Campylobacter coli. Environmental samples (raw milk, udder swabs, and rectal swabs from 12 cows in the suspected herd) were tested 2 weeks after the first signs of the disease, and two rectal swabs were found to be positive for C. jejuni.. Initially, the epidemic seemed to be sporadic and, accordingly, only 26 human and 2 animal Campylobacter isolates were reserved for randomly amplified polymorphic DNA analysis. This comparative analysis verified that fecally contaminated milk was the source of the outbreak. The DNA-banding patterns of 20 C. jejuni isolates (19 human and 1 animal) were identical. The antibiotic susceptibilities of the Campylobacter isolates were determined, and only six C. jejuni (human) isolates, one C. coli (human) isolate, and one C. jejuni (animal) isolate were resistant to tetracycline, both by disk diffusion and by E test (antimicrobial gradient strip for the quantitative determination of susceptibility or resistance of microorganisms). No plasmid was detected in these tetracycline-resistant isolates. The endotoxin production of Campylobacter isolates was examined via the cytopathogenic effect on the Vero cell line. This effect exhibited various degrees of positivity in 19 cases. Only two human C. jejuni isolates displayed ++++ positivity. Both isolates were from patients who had required antibiotic therapy and hospital care.

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Csongrád County Public Health and Medical Officer Service, Szeged, Hungary 2: Bay Zoltán Foundation for Applied Research Institute for Biotechnology, Szeged, Hungary

Publication date: October 1, 2000

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