Eighteen strains of Campylobacter sputorum bv. paraureolyticus (isolated over a 12-month period from seven dairy cows contained in a single herd) were examined by resistotyping, and macrorestriction profiling using pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The resistotypes of these strains were identical, although repeat testing indicated resistance to metronidazole was not a reliable trait for typing purposes. Five SmaI-derived genotypes were identified among the 18 strains. In 5 of 7 cows, isolates obtained from the same animal, but from different time periods, were genotypically indistinguishable, indicating persistence of infection. Macrorestriction profiles of 5 strains representing the 5 SmaI genotypes and 8 other strains of C. sputorum from various sources, were prepared using 4 endonucleases (SmaI, SalI, BamHI and KpnI). The only other strain of C. sputorum bv. paraureolyticus examined (a Canadian isolate from human faeces), was found to have a SmaI macrorestriction profile identical with one of the five clones isolated from the cattle. Moreover, SalI and BamHI profiles of all bv. paraureolyticus strains were similar, while digestion with KpnI was not observed. By contrast, the seven strains of C. sputorum bv. sputorum yielded various macrorestriction profiles with all the enzymes used, and features distinguishing the two biovars studied could be identified. This study indicates that C. sputorum can persist in cattle for at least 12 months and exhibits a clonal population genetic structure.
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