Campylobacter spp. in bulk tank milk and milk filters from US dairy farms

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Del Collo, Laura P
Biswas, Debabrata
Campylobacter spp. are a common cause of foodborne outbreaks associated with raw or unpasteurized milk, and Campylobacter spp. have also been detected on most dairies in the US. An estimate of the prevalence of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. in bulk tank milk (BTM) on US dairy operations was determined as part of the National Animal Health Monitoring System’s Dairy 2014 study. Campylobacter spp. were detected in the BTM and milk filters from 34.2% of the 234 dairies. Isolates were obtained from 18.4% of the dairies. C. jejuni was the most frequently isolated species, and this species is also the most common cause of human infection. When resistance to a panel of nine antimicrobials was tested, 68.4% of C. jejuni isolates were resistant to tetracycline. This survey suggests that BTM from US dairies can be contaminated with pathogenic Campylobacter spp., and the consumption of unpasteurized, raw milk represents a human health risk.