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1 January 2004 Relationship of Campylobacter Isolated from Poultry and from Darkling Beetles in New Zealand
C. Bates, K. L. Hiett, N. J. Stern
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Campylobacter, a foodborne pathogen closely associated with poultry, is considered to be an important agent of human gastroenteritis in New Zealand. The pathways involved in the contamination of poultry flocks remain unclear; however, many vectors, such as insects, rodents, and wild birds, have been implicated. Infestation of poultry houses by insects, particularly darkling beetles (Alphitobius diaperinus), is difficult to control. Furthermore, darkling beetles are known vectors for a variety of pathogens that include Salmonella, infectious bursal disease virus, Aspergillus, Escherichia coli, and Marek's disease virus. In this investigation, the relationship between darkling beetles and Campylobacter contamination of poultry flocks was investigated. A New Zealand breeder flock and four of its progeny broiler flocks were included in the study. Samples of beetles and of intestinal excreta of the birds were cultured for the presence of Campylobacter spp. A subset of the recovered isolates was subsequently genotyped using flaA short variable region (SVR) DNA sequence analysis. A large number of Campylobacter subtypes were isolated, indicating that Campylobacter colonization of poultry is likely to arise from a number of different reservoirs. However, a set of genetically distinct isolates were found to be common to the broiler flocks and to the beetles. This research provides data that indicates that Alphitobius diaperinus may serve as a source of Campylobacter contamination of poultry. A more thorough understanding of the relationship between beetle infestation and the Campylobacter status of poultry flocks should enable progress in further development of biosecurity control measures.

C. Bates, K. L. Hiett, and N. J. Stern "Relationship of Campylobacter Isolated from Poultry and from Darkling Beetles in New Zealand," Avian Diseases 48(1), 138-147, (1 January 2004).
Received: 27 June 2003; Published: 1 January 2004

darkling beetle (Alphitobius diaperinus)
DNA sequence analysis
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