Fecal shedding of Campylobacter and Arcobacter spp. in dairy cattle

I. V. Wesley, S. J. Wells, K. M. Harmon, A. Green, L. Schroeder-Tucker, M. Glover, I. Siddique

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Campylobacter jejuni, Campylobacter coli, and Arcobacter spp. were detected in feces of healthy dairy cows by highly specific multiplex-PCR assays. For C. jejuni, at this one-time sampling, cows from 80.6% of farm operations (n = 31) and 37.7% of individual dairy cattle fecal samples (n = 2,085) were positive. Farm management factors were correlated with prevalence in herds in which >25% of cows were positive for C. jejuni. Statistical significance was set at a P of 0.20. Using these criteria, application of manure with broadcast spreaders (P = 0.17), feeding of whole cottonseed or hulls (P = 0.17) or alfalfa (P = 0.15), and accessibility of feed to birds (P = 0.17) were identified as possible risk factors for C. jejuni infection. C. coli was detected in at least one animal in 19.4% of operations and 1.8% of individual cows (n = 2,085). At the herd level, use of broadcaster spreaders was not a risk factor for C. coli infection. For Arcobacter, cows from 71% of dairy operations (n = 31) and 14.3% of individual dairy cattle fecal samples (n = 1,682) were positive. At the herd level, for Arcobacter spp., feeding of alfalfa (P = 0.11) and use of individual waterers (P = 0.19) were protective. This is the first description of Arcobacter spp. in clinically healthy dairy cattle and the first attempt to correlate their presence with C. jejuni.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1994-2000
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2000


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