Campylobacteriosis in sheep in farm settlements in the Vhembe district of South Africa


Uaboi-Egbenni, P. O., Bessong, P. O., Samie, A. and Obi, C. L.

A total of 300 freshly voided sheep faeces were collected and screened for the presence of Campylobacter spp. using standard microbiological techniques. The samples were obtained randomly from 3 farm settlements in the Venda Region, South Africa in 2008 and 2009. The recovery rate was 30.0% (90 of 300) for all faeces. Of these, 65 (72.2%) were from diarrheic and 25 (27.8%) were from non-diarrheic faeces. Out of the 90 Campylobacter spp. isolated, 41(45.6%) were Campylobacter jejuni and 49 (54.4%) were C. coli. Sixty-three (70%) of the isolates were -haemolytic, while 17 (18.9%) were - haemolytic and 10 (11.1%) were non-haemolytic on 5% sheep red blood cells. The antibiotic resistance patterns of the 90 Campylobacter isolates were examined by the disc diffusion method. All Campylobacter isolates from the farms were resistant to at least one of the 12 antibiotics tested. The prevalence rate of C. coli resistance to ciprofloxacin was 20.4% compared with C. jejuni, 17.1%. Similar rates were noted for tetracycline for the two species. C. jejuni showed a higher rate of resistance to erythromycin (22.0%) compared with Campylobacter coli (10.2%). Significantly higher frequency of kanamycin resistance was recorded for C. jejuni compared to C. coli (p < 0.005). However, for ciprofloxacin, tetracycline, erythromycin, imipenem, gentamycin and ampicillin comparable resistant profiles were recorded for C. jejuni and C. coli isolates from the farms. The high prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in sheep is of public significance in the Venda Region. The observed multi-drug resistance and especially resistance to macrolides and fluoroquinolones in this study pose a threat of transfer of antibiotic resistance to human pathogens because of the close contact between sheep and humans.

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