Epidemiology and Infection

Epidemiologic application of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to an outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni in an Austrian youth centre

A. LEHNER a1c1, C. SCHNECK a1, G. FEIERL a2, P. PLESS a3, A. DEUTZ a3, E. BRANDL a1 and M. WAGNER a1
a1 Institute of Milk Hygiene, Milk Technology and Food Science, University of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinärplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria
a2 Institute of Hygiene, University Graz, Universitätsplatz 1, A-8010 Graz, Austria
a3 Veterinary Administration, Styrian Government, Zimmerplatzgasse, 15, A-8010 Graz, Austria


We report the first documented Campylobacter jejuni outbreak in an Austrian youth centre. Sixty-four children were involved of which 38 showed classical signs of campylobacter gastroenteritis. Since unpasteurized milk distributed by a local dairy was suspected to be the source of infection, stool samples were collected from 20 cows providing the milk. Five of the cows tested positive for C. jejuni. These isolates together with 37 clinical samples were compared by pulsed-field-gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The PFGE patterns, using the restriction endonucleases SmaI and SalI, were identical for the human and bovine isolates.This finding confirmed that the outbreak was caused by the consumption of unpasteurized milk contaminated with C. jejuni.

(Accepted April 5 2000)

c1 Author for correspondence.