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The transmission cycles of the foodborne pathogens Campylobacter and Salmonella are not fully elucidated. Knowledge of these cycles may help reduce the transmission of these pathogens to humans. The presence of campylobacters and salmonellas was examined in 631 fresh fecal samples of wild insectivorous bats using a specially developed method for the simultaneous isolation of low numbers of these pathogens in small-sized fecal samples (≤ 0.1 g). Salmonella was not detected in the feces samples, but thermotolerant campylobacters were confirmed in 3% (n = 17) of the bats examined and these pathogens were found in six different bat species, at different sites, in different ecosystems during the whole flying season of bats. Molecular typing of the 17 isolated strains indicated C. jejuni (n = 9), C. coli (n = 7) and C. lari (n = 1), including genotypes also found in humans, wildlife, environmental samples and poultry. Six strains showed unique sequence types. This study shows that insectivorous bats are not only carriers of viral pathogens, but they can also be relevant for the transmission of bacterial pathogens. Bats should be considered as carriers and potential transmitters of Campylobacter and, where possible, contact between bats (bat feces) and food or feed should be avoided.
Campylobacter, Bats -- Pathogens, Europe, Netherlands
Hazeleger, Wilma C.; Jacobs-Reitsma, Wilma F.; and Lina, Peter H.C., "Wild, insectivorous bats might be carriers of Campylobacter spp." (2018). KIP Articles. 5700.