Campylobacter infection is a leading cause of human foodborne illness in the United States. Although human campylobacteriosis is usually associated with the consumption of contaminated food, pets can be another source of infection. Dogs and cats are not commonly thought of as a source for human infection, but Campylobacter carriage is well-recognized in these pets. Risk factors for Campylobacter infection in dogs and cats include consumption of raw meat diets and contaminated treats such as uncooked beef bones. People can be exposed to Campylobacter when handling contaminated pet food and treats or feces from infected pets. Despite recognition of these cases and the potential risk of campylobacteriosis in dogs and cats, Campylobacter culture is not routinely performed in these species. We propose to validate diagnostic culture and molecular methods to detect Campylobacter shedding in dogs and cats because 1) Campylobacter infection is well-recognized in dogs and cats;2) dogs and cats live in close association with people, particularly children;3) canine and feline shedding of Campylobacter spp. is well-recognized and associated with human infection;4) dogs and cats are not routinely screened for Campylobacter shedding despite recognition of the risk of Campylobacter infection in dogs and cats;and 5) the absence of standardized methods for Campylobacter detection make it difficult to compare studies from different geographic areas and different laboratories. We will validate both culture and molecular methods and test these methods in 3 independent, blinded laboratories with Campylobacter spiked test samples and ultimately test the methods on fecal samples from canine patients with diarrhea. Additionally, the collaborative effort of test validation and sample exchange between the 4 collaborating laboratories will strengthen the ties between these Vet-LIRN laboratories thereby promoting seamless interactions during actual emergency related events.
Campylobacter infection is a leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States. Although human campylobacteriosis is usually associated with the consumption of contaminated food, pet dogs and cats can be another source of infection. Campylobacter spp. also cause disease in dogs and cats and these infections are often under-recognized due in part to the challenges in detecting these bacteria by culture. Recent advances in molecular testing and improvements in culture methods may improve recognition of Campylobacter infection in dogs and cats. Given the risk of campylobacteriosis in dogs and cats, the importance of dogs and cats as pets, and the close contact between dogs, cats, and people, it is important to develop standardized, validated methods for diagnosis of Campylobacter shedding in dogs and cats.