Microbiomes and Campylobacter : How They Fit Together and Why They’re Important

While not many people have heard of Campylobacter, as described in our last post, almost everyone has heard of microbiomes.  The term has become familiar to both scientists and the general public through the Human Microbiome Project and Earth Microbiome Project.  The idea of having a healthy population of “good bacteria” in one’s stomach or home to provide protection from pathogenic or spoilage bacteria has become accepted and is even embraced in today’s world.  To see this attitude in action all one has to do is look the products popping up in stores, like a bacterial scrub in lieu of soap or probiotics.  Combine all of that with the soaring number of publication dealing with microbiomes and this topic is definitely here to stay.

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Figure 1: Phase Contrast Image of the cecal content of a conventionally raised 5 week-old turkey. Campylobacter is circled in red.

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Scotland, Thank You for the Big Pink Chicken

This is perhaps my favorite campaign to raise awareness about Campylobacter. A man in a pink chicken suit runs around ruining others’ summer activities as a reminder that nothing ruins a good BBQ like a couple of cases of campylobacteriosis. Remember that cross-contamination after handling raw poultry is a big risk factor for getting this food-borne illness. After you touch raw poultry wash your hands. As Campylobacter researchers it is also nice to see Campy getting some attention. We hope that this campaign will help to make Campylobacter a better known food borne pathogen. We recently posted an article on some of the reasons why Campylobacter isn’t better known if you would like to check that out.

 

 

Latest on the May 2016 Campylobacter Outbreak in California

An update to the previously reported Campylobacter outbreak!

Food Safety News reports that the restaurant implicated in last month’s Campylobacter outbreak is being sued by two individuals who tested positive for the bacterium just days after dining at the restaurant. The results from cooked food samples taken from the restaurant will likely not come back until July the report states, but we will try our best to report them when they do.

32 Sickened by Campylobacter Outbreak in California

Usually Campylobacter causes sporadic cases of illness, so having an outbreak is unusual and interesting for Campylobacter researchers. The article, from Food Safety News, states that the cause of the outbreak is still unknown.

“County health officials are not certain what food item might have caused the illnesses. They are still checking samples of cooked foods taken from the restaurant on June 8 and also continuing to investigate the reports of those sickened.”

Poultry, unpasteurized milk, and untreated water are the most common vehicle for Campylobacter transmission. Additionally, cheeses made from raw milk can be sources of infection. While the researchers are testing the cooked food, we also hope that the raw ingredients are being tested as well.

 

IAFP Abstract Erythromycin Resistant C. jejuni Information

The Kathariou lab will be presenting some of our research at the annual IAFP meeting this year.  Below is the abstract and information on the poster that is being presented at the conference.  If you’re there come and check out our research into the spread of erythromycin resistance.

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