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Increased risk for Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli infection of pet origin in dog owners and evidence for genetic association between strains causing infection in humans and their pets

  • L. MUGHINI GRAS (a1) (a2) (a3), J. H. SMID (a2), J. A. WAGENAAR (a4) (a5) (a6), M. G. J. KOENE (a5), A. H. HAVELAAR (a2) (a7), I. H. M. FRIESEMA (a2), N. P. FRENCH (a8), C. FLEMMING (a4), J. D. GALSON (a9), C. GRAZIANI (a1), L. BUSANI (a1) and W. VAN PELT (a2)...

We compared Campylobacter jejuni/coli multilocus sequence types (STs) from pets (dogs/cats) and their owners and investigated risk factors for pet-associated human campylobacteriosis using a combined source-attribution and case-control analysis. In total, 132/687 pet stools were Campylobacter-positive, resulting in 499 strains isolated (320 C. upsaliensis/helveticus, 100 C. jejuni, 33 C. hyointestinalis/fetus, 10 C. lari, 4 C. coli, 32 unidentified). There were 737 human and 104 pet C. jejuni/coli strains assigned to 154 and 49 STs, respectively. Dog, particularly puppy, owners were at increased risk of infection with pet-associated STs. In 2/68 cases vs. 0·134/68 expected by chance, a pet and its owner were infected with an identical ST (ST45, ST658). Although common sources of infection and directionality of transmission between pets and humans were unknown, dog ownership significantly increased the risk for pet-associated human C. jejuni/coli infection and isolation of identical strains in humans and their pets occurred significantly more often than expected.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Mr L. Mughini Gras, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161, Rome, Italy. (Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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