Clostridium difficile in wild rodents and insectivores in the Netherlands

I.M. Krijger*, B.G. Meerburg, C. Harmanus, S.A. Burt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

With wild rodents and insectivores being present around humans and their living, working and food production environments, it is important to gain knowledge of the zoonotic pathogens present in these animals. The enteropathogen Clostridium difficile, an opportunistic anaerobic bacteria, can be carried by both animals and humans, and is distributed globally. It is known that there is genetic overlap between human and animal sources of C. difficile. In this study, the aim was to assess the presence of C. difficile in rodents and insectivores trapped on and around pig and cattle farms in the Netherlands. In total 347 rodents and insectivores (10 different species) were trapped and 39·2% tested positive for presence of C. difficile. For all positive samples the ribotype (RT) was determined, and in total there were 13 different RTs found (in descending order of frequency: 057, 010, 029, 005, 073, 078, 015, 035, 454, 014, 058, 062, 087). Six of the RTs isolated from rodents and insectivores are known to be associated with human C. difficile infection; RT005, RT010, RT014, RT015, RT078 and RT087. The presence of rodents and insectivores in and around food production buildings (e.g. farms) could contribute to the spread of C. difficile in the human environment. In order to enable on-farm management for pathogen control, it is essential to comprehend the role of wild rodents and insectivores that could potentially affect the ecology of disease agents on farms. Significance and Impact of the Study: This study shows that rodents and insectivores in and around food production buildings (e.g. farms) can carry Clostridium difficile ribotypes associated with human C. difficile infection (CDI). C. difficile spores in rodent and insectivore droppings are able to survive in the environment for prolonged periods, leading to host-to-host exposure and transmission. Therefore we can state that rodent and insectivore presence on farms is a risk for zoonotic pathogen transmission of C. difficile.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • animal to human
  • Clostridioides difficile
  • farms
  • house mouse
  • Mus musculus
  • Rattus rattus
  • transmission
  • zoonotic pathogen

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