Skip to main content

Application of molecular epidemiology to understanding campylobacteriosis in the Canterbury region of New Zealand

  • B. J. GILPIN (a1), G. WALSHE (a1), S. L. ON (a1), D. SMITH (a2), J. C. MARSHALL (a3) and N. P. FRENCH (a3)...

Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis genotypes of Campylobacter isolates from 603 human patients were compared with 485 isolates from retail offal (primarily chicken and lamb) to identify temporal clusters and possible sources of campylobacteriosis. Detailed epidemiological information was collected from 364 of the patients, and when combined with genotyping data allowed a putative transmission pathway of campylobacteriosis to be assigned for 88% of patients. The sources of infection were 47% food, 28% direct animal contact, 7% overseas travel, 4% person-to-person transmission and 3% water-related. A significant summer increase in campylobacteriosis cases was primarily attributed to an increase in food-related cases. Genotyping of isolates was essential for identifying the likely cause of infection for individuals. However, a more rapid and cheaper typing tool for Campylobacter is needed, which if applied to human and animal isolates on a routine basis could advance greatly our understanding of the ongoing problem of Campylobacter infection in New Zealand.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr B. J. Gilpin, PO Box 29-181, Christchurch, New Zealand. (Email:
Hide All
1.Sears, A, et al. Marked campylobacteriosis decline after interventions aimed at poultry, new zealand. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2011; 17: 10071015.
2.ESR. New Zealand public health surveillance report ( 2011; 9: 18.
3.Lake, R. Transmission routes for campylobacteriosis in New Zealand. Christchurch: Institute of Environmental Science & Research Ltd, 2006.
4.Ikram, R, et al. A case control study to determine risk factors for campylobacter infection in Christchurch in the summer of 1992–3. New Zealand Medical Journal 1994; 107: 430432.
5.Eberhart-Phillips, J, et al. Campylobacteriosis in New Zealand: results of a case-control study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 1997; 51: 686691.
6.Hudson, JA, et al. Seasonal variation of campylobacter types from human cases, veterinary cases, raw chicken, milk and water. Journal of Applied Microbiology 1999; 87: 115124.
7.Mullner, P, et al. Molecular epidemiology of Campylobacter jejuni in a geographically isolated country with a uniquely structured poultry industry. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2010; 76: 21452154.
8.Devane, ML, et al. The occurrence of Campylobacter subtypes in environmental reservoirs and potential transmission routes. Journal of Applied Microbiology 2005; 98: 980990.
9.French, NP, et al. Molecular epidemiology of Campylobacter jejuni isolates from wild-bird fecal material in children's playgrounds. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2009; 75: 779783.
10.Edmonds, C, Hawke, R. Microbiological and metal contamination of watercress in the Wellington region, New Zealand – 2000 survey. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2004; 28: 2026.
11.Stern, NJ, et al. Campylobacter spp. in Icelandic poultry operations and human disease. Epidemiology and Infection 2003; 130: 2332.
12.Vellinga, A, Van Loock, F. The dioxin crisis as experiment to determine poultry-related campylobacter enteritis. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2002; 8: 1922.
13.Mullner, P, et al. Assigning the source of human campylobacteriosis in New Zealand: a comparative genetic and epidemiological approach. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 2009; 9: 13111319.
14.Mullner, P, et al. Source attribution of food-borne zoonoses in New Zealand: a modified hald model. Risk Analysis 2009; 29: 970984.
15.Stehr-Green, JK, et al. Waterborne outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni in Christchurch: the importance of a combined epidemiologic and microbiologic investigation. New Zealand Medical Journal 1991; 104: 356358.
16.Vogt, RL, et al. Campylobacter enteritis associated with contaminated water. Annals of Internal Medicine 1982; 96: 292296.
17.Fitzgerald, C, et al. Evaluation of methods for subtyping campylobacter jejuni during an outbreak involving a food handler. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2001; 39: 23862390.
18.Evans, MR, et al. A milk-borne campylobacter outbreak following an educational farm visit. Epidemiology and Infection 1996; 117: 457462.
19.Harrington, P, et al. Outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni infections associated with drinking unpasteurized milk procured through a cow-leasing program – Wisconsin, 2001. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2002; 51: 548549.
20.Pearson, AD, et al. Continuous source outbreak of campylobacteriosis traced to chicken. Journal of Food Protection 2000; 63: 309314.
21.Whyte, RJ, et al. Outbreak of campylobacteriosis from chicken liver pâté. Journal of the NZ Institute of Environmental Health 2001; 24: 910.
22.Graham, C, et al. Outbreak of campylobacteriosis following pre-cooked sausage consumption. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2005; 29: 507510.
23.Wilson, N. A systematic review of the aetiology of human campylobacteriosis in New Zealand. Wellington: Food Safety Authority of New Zealand 2005. June 2005.
24.Gilpin, B, et al. Application of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to identify potential outbreaks of campylobacteriosis in new zealand. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2006; 44: 406412.
25.McTavish, SM, et al. Wide geographical distribution of internationally rare Campylobacter clones within new zealand. Epidemiology and Infection 2008; 136: 12441252.
26.Wong, T, et al. Validation of a PCR method for Campylobacter detection on poultry packs. British Food Journal 2004; 106: 642650.
27.Chaban, B, et al. Development of cpn60-based real-time quantitative pcr assays for the detection of 14 Campylobacter species and application to screening of canine fecal samples. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2009; 75: 30553061.
28.Ribot, EM, et al. Rapid pulsed-field gel electrophoresis protocol for subtyping of Campylobacter jejuni. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2001; 39: 18891894.
29.Hunter, SB, et al. Establishment of a universal size standard strain for use with the pulsenet standardized pulsed-field gel electrophoresis protocols: converting the national databases to the new size standard. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2005; 43: 10451050.
30.McTavish, SM, et al. Multilocus sequence typing of campylobacter jejuni, and the correlation between clonal complex and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis macrorestriction profile. FEMS Microbiology Letters 2009; 298: 149156.
31.Grundmann, H, Hori, S, Tanner, G. Determining confidence intervals when measuring genetic diversity and the discriminatory abilities of typing methods for microorganisms. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2001; 39: 41904192.
32.Mullner, P, et al. Molecular and spatial epidemiology of human campylobacteriosis: source association and genotype-related risk factors. Epidemiology and Infection 2010; 138: 13721383.
33.Strachan, NJ, et al. Source attribution, prevalence and enumeration of Campylobacter spp. From retail liver. International Journal of Food Microbiology 2012; 153: 234236.
34.Cawthraw, SA, et al. Antibodies, directed towards Campylobacter jejuni antigens, in sera from poultry abattoir workers. Clinical and Experimental Immunology 2000; 122: 5560.
35.Anderson, J, Horn, BJ, Gilpin, BJ. The prevalence and genetic diversity of Campylobacter spp. in domestic ‘backyard’ poultry in Canterbury, New Zealand. Zoonoses Public Health 2012; 59: 5260.
36.Sheppard, SK, et al. Campylobacter genotyping to determine the source of human infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2009; 48: 10721078.
37.Strachan, NJ, et al. Attribution of campylobacter infections in northeast scotland to specific sources by use of multilocus sequence typing. Journal of Infectious Diseases 2009; 199: 12051208.
38.Gilpin, BJ, et al. Comparison of Campylobacter jejuni genotypes from dairy cattle and human sources from the Matamata-Piako district of New Zealand. Journal of Applied Microbiology 2008; 105: 13541360.
39.Carter, PE, et al. Novel clonal complexes with an unknown animal reservoir dominate Campylobacter jejuni isolates from river water in new zealand. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2009; 75: 60386046.
40.Cornelius, AJ, et al. Comparison of PCR binary typing (P-BIT), a new approach to epidemiological subtyping of Campylobacter jejuni, with serotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and multilocus sequence typing methods. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2010; 76: 15331544.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Gilpin Supplementary Material

 Word (240 KB)
240 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 20 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 193 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.