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Agricultural and fisheries research
Veterinary sector and animal health



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Commission of the European Communities
Campylobacter Commission of the European Communities
Proceedings of a conference held in Brussels
17 and 18 January 1985
Edited by
K. P. Lander
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
New Haw, Weybridge
Surrey, United Kingdom
Sponsored by the
Commission of the European Communities
Directorate-General for Agriculture
Coordination of Agricultural Research
1985 EUR 9739 EN Published by the
Information Market and Innovation
Bâtiment Jean Monnet
Neither the Commission of the European Communities nor any person acting
on behalf of then is responsible for the use which might be made of
the following information
Cataloguing data can be found at the end of this publication
Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1985
ISBN 92-825-5686-7
Catalogue number oBPBi |Bfe
© ECSC-EEC-EAEC, Brussels · Luxembourg, 1985
Printed in the FR of Germany PREFACE
This publication reports the proceedings of a seminar on Campylobacter
held in Brussels, Belgium on 17 and 18 January, 1985 under the auspices of
the Commission of the European Communities (CEC), Directorate-General for
Agriculture, as part of its agricultural research programme.
The last decade has witnessed major developments in the study of
Campylobacters. Although their association with animal disease has been
known for many years they have only recently been recognised as probably
the commonest cause of infectious enteritis in humans ir. Western Europe.
There is much evidence to suggest that the major reservoirs of human
infection are animals and birds. Consequently the medical and veterinary
professions have both shown a marked revival in interest in these
The seminar drew together, from member states of the European
Community (EC), participants with some knowledge of, and interest in,
Campylobacters. Particular emphasis was placed on zoonotic aspects but
recent developments in other areas were also covered. The exchange of
information and ideas will have created within member states nuclei of
informed scientists who may be used to give advice and guidance to other
workers in the same field. In this way the ultimate objective of the
seminar - to harmonize methods of study of Campylobacter throughout the
EC - may be achieved.
Ρ J Dekeyser The genus Campylobacter : classification,
nomenclature, habitat and pathogenicity
Discussion - Ρ J O'Reilly
Campylobacteriosis and Campylobacter infection J D Collins, H S
in animals : diagnostic aspects Al-Nassir, Hannah 15
O'Mahoney and J
Discussion - Κ Ρ Lander Hannan
Identification methods for Campylobacters Kirsten Jørgensen 33
Discussion - Τ Ν All sup
Κ Ρ W Gill Campylobacter : transport and preservation
methods 49
Discussion - Τ Ν Allsup
J Ρ Butzler, Η 53 Campylobacter infection in man
Goossens, Ρ de Mol
and S Lauwers Discussion - Κ Ρ Lander
Campylobacters and enteritis : a general E C Simos
assessment of the situation in Greece
with emphasis on the isolation of the
The occurrence of Campylobacter jejuni in J Oosterom
foods of animal origin 71
Discussion - Kirsten Jørgensen
Venereal campylobacteriosis in artificial R Pohl
breeding centres in Baden-Württemberg
Discussion - Ρ J Dekeyser
Τ Ν Allsup 93 Ovine Campylobacter abortion
Discussion - J D Collins
Porcine intestinal adenomatosis L Roberts 109
Discussion - Ρ Høgh
Gastro-intestinal disturbances in animals, J Vandenberghe
123 associated with Campylobacter
Discussion - L Roberts
Κ Ρ Lander 141 Conclusions
145 List of participants THE GENUS CAMPYLOBACTER
P.J. Dekeyser
National Institute for Veterinary Research
Groeselenberg 99
Β ­ 1180 Brussels, Belgium
The genus Campylobacter belongs to the family Spirillaceae. Cam­
pylobacters are curved rods with a single polar flagellum. These rods
may have one or more spirals. They are motile with a typical to and
fro corkscrew­like motion. Their G + C content ranges from 29 to 38
mol ?ó. They are gram negative and do not ferment carbohydrates. Most
of' them are micro­aerophilic. They can be found in the intestinal and
genital tract and in the oral cavity. The most important diseases due
to Campylobacters are enteritis in humans, enzootic infertility in
cattle and epizootic abortion in ewes.
Campylobacters are small, non sporeforming, gram negative bacteria
with a characteristic curved, S shaped or spiral morphology. They vary
in length from 0.5 to 8 μ and in width from 0.2 to 0.5 μ. These micro­
organisms are best examined under phase­contrast illumination where
not only is their shape well seen but so also is the rapid to and fro
movement characteristic of the shorter forms. They have a single polar
flagellum at one or at both ends. Except the aerotolerant group they
will only grow in an atmosphere with reduced oxygen and increased C0o
and some need even hydrogen. They are oxidase positive and most of
them are also catalase positive. They reduce nitrates. Carbohydrates
are neither fermented nor oxidized.
The genus Campylobacter is classified together with the genus
Spirillum in the family Spirillaceae. The guanine + cytosine content
of the genus Campylobacter ranges from 29 to 38 mol %, It is very hand­
some to divide the Campylobacters into two groups : TABLE 1 Groups of Campylobacter
Catalase positive Catalase negative
C.fetus subsp. fetus C.sputorum subsp. sputorum
C.fetus subsp.venerealis
C.jejuni C.sputorum subsp. bubulus
C.laridis (NARTC) C.sputorum subsp. mucosalis
C.fecalis C.concisus
Aerotolerant C.
C.nitrofigilis (plant roots)
Free living Campylobacter sp.
It was McFadyean and Stockman (1913) who first reported abortions
in cattle and sheep caused by spiral organisms. Some years later Smith
and Taylor (1919) isolated apparently the same organisms from aborted
bovine fetuses, in a herd free of brucellosis : they called these bac­
teria "vibrio fetus". Plastridge (1947) drew attention to a form of
infectious infertility in cattle, which he proved to be caused by Vibrio
Florent (1959) confirmed the observations made by Stegenga, Terpstra
(1949) and Akkermans (1956) in the Netherlands and Lawson and McKinnon
(1952) in the U.K. He named the vibrios isolated from cases of enzootic
infertility : Vibrio fetus var. venerialis because it was evident that
the disease was venereally transmitted. The vibrios Florent could isolate
from sporadically aborted fetuses were named V.fetus var. intestinalis.
V.fetus venerialis did not produce H_S in a cysteine containing
medium and did not develop in glycine 1 %, while V.fetus intestinalis
was H„S positive and grew ine 1 %. However in the early 1960s
it became clear that some V.fetus strains which were H.S positive and
glycine sensitive could also be at the origin of venereally transmitted
infectious infertility as well as V.fetus intestinalis serotype Β (or
2). In the mean time Marsh and Firehammer (1953), Mitscherlich and