Campylobacter prevalence in lactating dairy cows in the United States.
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The objective of the present study was to determine the prevalence of intestinal Campylobacter in lactating dairy cows from various regions of the United States. Participating commercial dairy farms were chosen at random and were part of a national survey to determine E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella prevalence in dairy cows. Farms had no previous history of Campylobacter problems. Fecal samples were collected rectally from 720 cows on farms in the northeast (four farms), in the desert southwest (three farms), and in the Pacific west (two farms). A minimum of 60 fecal samples per visit were collected from each farm. Thirty isolates were analyzed using the RiboPrinter Microbial Characterization System to obtain ribosomal RNA patterns. Twenty isolates were tentatively identified as Campylobacter jejuni, two as Campylobacter coli, three as Campylobacter spp., and five as unknown. Individual single-visit farm prevalence ranged from 0 to 10%. The disk diffusion method, employing 11 antibiotics, was used to test the antibiotic sensitivities of 27 of the isolates. Eight isolates were resistant to two or more antibiotics, 13 isolates were resistant to one antibiotic, and 6 were totally susceptible. Under the conditions of this study, the authors conclude that Campylobacter prevalence in lactating dairy cows in the United States is low, there is no difference in prevalence on the basis of geographical location, the predominant species is C. jejuni, and that the majority of these isolates are sensitive to antibiotics.