Multi-locus sequence types of Campylobacter carried by flies and slugs acquired from local ruminant faeces

E L Sproston, I D Ogden, M MacRae, K J Forbes, J F Dallas, S K Sheppard, A Cody, F Colles, M J Wilson, N J C Strachan

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To assess whether flies and slugs acquire strains of Campylobacter jejuni
and Campylobacter coli present in local ruminant faeces.
Methods and Results: Campylobacter was cultured from flies, slugs and ruminant
faeces that were collected from a single farm in Scotland over a 19-week
period. The isolates were typed using multi-locus sequence typing (MLST)
and compared with isolates from cattle and sheep faeces. Campylobacter jejuni
and Camp. coli were isolated from 5Æ8% (n = 155, average of 75 flies per pool)
and 13Æ3% (n = 15, average of 8Æ5 slugs per pool) of pooled fly and slug
samples, respectively. The most common sequence type (ST) in flies was
Camp. coli ST-962 (approx. 40%) regardless of the prevalence in local cattle
(2Æ3%) or sheep (25Æ0%) faeces. Two positive slug pools generated the same ST
that has not been reported elsewhere.
Conclusions: Despite their low carriage rate, flies are able to acquire Campylobacter STs that are locally present, although the subset carried may be biased when compared to local source. Slugs were shown to carry a previously unreported Campylobacter ST.
Significance and Impact of the Study: This study has demonstrated that flies carry viable Campylobacter and may contribute to the transfer of STs within and between groups of animals on farms. Further, they may therefore present a risk to human health via their contact with ready-to-eat foods or surfaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-838
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number3
Early online date22 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


  • campylobacter
  • cattle
  • flies
  • MLST
  • ruminants
  • sheep
  • slugs
  • vectors


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