Molecular evidence for dissemination of unique Campylobacter jejuni clones in Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles.
Duim B., Godschalk PCR., van den Braak N., Dingle KE., Dijkstra JR., Leyde E., van der Plas J., Colles FM., Endtz HP., Wagenaar JA., Maiden MCJ., van Belkum A.
Campylobacter jejuni isolates (n = 234) associated with gastroenteritis and the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in the island of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, and collected from March 1999 to March 2000 were investigated by a range of molecular typing techniques. Data obtained by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis, multilocus sequence typing (MLST), automated ribotyping, and sequence analysis of the short variable region of the flagellin gene (flaA) were analyzed separately and in combination. Similar groupings were obtained by all methods, with the data obtained by MLST and AFLP analysis exhibiting the highest degree of congruency. MLST identified 29 sequence types, which were assigned to 10 major clonal complexes. PFGE, AFLP analysis, and ribotyping identified 10, 9, and 8 of these clonal groups, respectively; however, these three techniques permitted subdivision of the clonal groups into more different types. Members of seven clonal groups comprising 107 isolates were obtained from November 1999 to February 2000, and no distinguishing characteristics were identified for two GBS-associated strains. The sequence type 41 (ST-41), ST-508, and ST-657 clonal complexes and their corresponding AFLP types have been rare or absent in the Campylobacter data sets described to date. We conclude that several clonal complexes of C. jejuni are associated with human disease in Curaçao, and some of these have not been reported elsewhere. Furthermore, given the observation that C. jejuni-associated diseases appear to be more severe from November to February, it can be speculated that this may be due to the presence of virulent clones with a limited span of circulation.