797. Arcobacter: a Mere Human Intestinal Colonizer, a Foodborne Pathogen or Both?
Session: Abstracts: Oral Abstract Session: Bacterial Clinical Studies I
Friday, October 22, 2010: 2:45 PM

Arcobacters are Gram-negative, motile, slightly curved, aerotolerant organisms, closely related to Campylobacter. In humans, the species A. butzleri., A. cryaerophilus and recently A. skirrowii have been associated with enteritis and septicemia. Today, limited reports on the presence of arcobacters in the human intestine have been published.In this study, Arcobacter isolation was performed in a routine microbiology lab to collect data on human colonization and association with enteric infection.


From January 2008 to December 2009, all stool samples from out-patients and from in-patients admitted less than 72 hours to a large secondary care hospital were included. Culture for all common bacterial pathogens was performed. Arcobacter culture was carried out inoculating 1g feces into a selective broth, incubating overnight at 28°C and subsequently plating on a selective agar medium. Plates were screened after 72 hours microaerobic incubation at 28°C by dark field microscopy for typical colonies and further identified by an Arcobacter species-specific PCR-assay. For patients with Arcobacter positive stools, medical records were investigated for the presence of acute or recurrent diarrhea, abdominal pain and underlying disease.


From 3295 eligible samples, 2423 (73.5%) were cultured for arcobacters. In this group, Campylobacter species were on top of the enteric bacterial pathogen list (5.45%) followed by Salmonella (3,01%) and toxigenic Clostridium difficile (2,76%). Arcobacter was the fourth most common isolated genus (1.24%), with almost equally isolation of A. butzleri (0.6%) and A. cryaerophilus (0.5%) and with 0.2% non identified Arcobacter isolates. Arcobacter butzleri positives tended to be in-patients with diarrhea and an underlying disease compared to A. cryaerophilus.


Arcobacters were the fourth most common organism isolated from stool in the study population. Using a recently validated veterinary isolation technique, routine recovery of arcobacters in humans becomes feasible. Further study on their role in human enteritis is warranted.

Subject Category: B. Bacterial pathogenesis, studies in animal models, molecular pathogenicity

Anne-Marie Van den Abeele, MD , Medical microbiology, Sint-Lucas Hospital, Ghent, Belgium
Kurt Houf, DVM, MrSc, PhD, Diplom, ECVPH , Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium
Stefanie Drieghe, PharmD , Medical microbiology, Sint-Lucas Hospital, Ghent, Belgium
Jos Van Acker, MD , Medical microbiology, Sint-Lucas Hospital, Ghent, Belgium


A. M. Van den Abeele, None

K. Houf, None

S. Drieghe, None

J. Van Acker, None

Findings in the abstracts are embargoed until 12:01 a.m. EST Thursday, Oct. 21 with the exception of research findings presented at IDSA press conferences.


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