Campylobacter organisms isolated from water samples taken weekly from ponds and land-drains in the City of Hull were compared with isolates from humans. Of 314 campylobacter organisms isolated from patients, 237 (75.5%) of the strains were identified as typical Campylobacter jejuni, whilst of 125 identified strains isolated from the water samples, 85 (68%) resembled C. jejuni in most respects but were hippurate hydrolysis negative by the Hwang and Ederer method. The ponds and land drains in the city were therefore not a source of campylobacteriosis in the people living near these water courses. The atypical C. jejuni strains isolated from the environment may be mistaken for the C. jejuni strains which cause human infection. It is therefore essential that such strains are fully identified before attributing human and animal infections to their ingestion.
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