Arcobacter spp. are emerging food borne pathogens associated with prolonged diarrhea and occasional systemic infections such as bactereamia and peritonitis in humans. Information on faecal shedding patterns to assess the potential role they play within the intestine however, is lacking. This study was designed to investigate faecal shedding of local isolates of Arcobacter spp. Using real time PCR for confirmation, A. cryaerophilus and A. butzleri were isolated from the stool of healthy chickens. Pathogenicity of the organisms was tested by administering a single oral challenge of 102–109 cfu/ml to 45 healthy adult male albino rats divided equally among 5 groups. Uninfected rats were used as the control group. A. cryaerophilus and A. butzleri produced infection in 100% of the animals. Experimental infection was dose dependent and caused diarrheal illness and faecal shedding was noted up to 5 weeks post infection. The present study demonstrates that rats can act as a reservoir and potential source of Arcobacter infection in humans and animals exposed to this pathogen.
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