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Evidence of land-sea transfer of the zoonotic pathogen Campylobacter to a wildlife marine sentinel species / Johanna Baily; Guillaume Meric; Sion Bayliss; Geoffrey Foster; Simon Moss; Eleanor Watson; Ben Pascoe; Jane Mikhail; Romain Pizzi; Robert Goldstone; David Smith; Kim Willoughby; Ailsa Hall; Samuel Sheppard; Mark Dagleish
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DOI (Published version): 10.1111/mec.13001
Environmental pollution often accompanies the expansion and urbanisation of human populations and sewage and wastewaters commonly impact upon marine environments. Here we explored the potential for faecal bacterial pathogens, of anthropic origin, to spread to marine wildlife in coastal areas. The co...
|Published in:||Molecular Ecology|
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Environmental pollution often accompanies the expansion and urbanisation of human populations and sewage and wastewaters commonly impact upon marine environments. Here we explored the potential for faecal bacterial pathogens, of anthropic origin, to spread to marine wildlife in coastal areas. The common zoonotic bacterium Campylobacter was isolated from grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) – an important sentinel species for environmental pollution – and compared to isolates from wild birds, agricultural sources and clinical samples to characterize possible transmission routes. Campylobacter jejuni was present in half of all grey seal pups sampled (24/50 dead and 46/90 live pups) in the breeding colony on the Isle of May (Scotland), where it was frequently associated with histological evidence of disease. Returning yearling animals (19/19) were negative for C. jejuni suggesting clearance of infection whilst away from the localised colony infection source. The genomes of 90 isolates from seals were sequenced and characterized using a whole-genome MLST approach, and compared to 192 published genomes from multiple sources using population genetic approaches and a probabilistic genetic attribution model to infer the source of infection from MLST data. The strong genotype-host association has enabled the application of source attribution models in epidemiological studies of human campylobacteriosis, and here assignment analyses consistently grouped seal isolates withthose from human clinical samples. These findings are consistent with either a common infection source or direct transmission of human campylobacter to grey seals, raising concerns about the spread of human pathogens to wildlife marine sentinel species in coastalareas.
environmental health, Campylobacter, grey seals, source attribution, genomics
Swansea University Medical School