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Prevalence of gastrointestinal Clostridium difficile carriage in Australian sheep and lambs

Prevalence of gastrointestinal Clostridium difficile carriage in Australian sheep and lambs

Applied and Environmental Microbiology 79(18): 5689-5692

Recently, Clostridium difficile has been isolated from a wide variety of animals, particularly production animals, mainly cattle and pigs. Concurrently, the incidence of C. difficile infection (CDI) in humans has increased in the community, with some suggestions that food-borne transmission of C. difficile is occurring. Interestingly, sheep and lambs appear not to have been investigated for carriage/colonization with C. difficile. The aim of this project was to determine the prevalence of carriage of C. difficile in sheep and lambs in Australia by culturing fecal samples. A total of 371 sheep and lamb fecal samples were received in seven batches from three different geographic areas in eastern Australia and two in Western Australia. The overall rate of detection in sheep and lambs was low (4.0%); however, carriage/colonization in lambs (6.5%) was statistically significantly higher than that in sheep (0.6%) (P = 0.005). Seven distinct PCR ribotype patterns were observed, three of which were known international ribotypes (UK 056 [n = 1], UK 101 [n = 6], and UK 137 [n = 2]), while the remainder were unable to be matched with our available reference library. This low rate of carriage/colonization in Australian ovines suggests they are unlikely to be a major source/reservoir of human infections.

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Accession: 055157959

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PMID: 23851101

DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01888-13

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