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Epsilonproteobacteria in humans, New Zealand.
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MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23017215     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Susan Bullman; Daniel Corcoran; James O'Leary; Deirdre Byrne; Brigid Lucey; Roy D Sleator
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comment; Letter    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Emerging infectious diseases     Volume:  18     ISSN:  1080-6059     ISO Abbreviation:  Emerging Infect. Dis.     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-09-28     Completed Date:  2013-02-19     Revised Date:  2013-07-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9508155     Medline TA:  Emerg Infect Dis     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1709-10; author reply 1710-1     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Epsilonproteobacteria / classification*,  genetics*
Comment On:
Emerg Infect Dis. 2012 Mar;18(3):510-2   [PMID:  22377283 ]

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Full Text
Journal Information
Journal ID (nlm-ta): Emerg Infect Dis
Journal ID (iso-abbrev): Emerging Infect. Dis
Journal ID (publisher-id): EID
ISSN: 1080-6040
ISSN: 1080-6059
Publisher: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Article Information
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Print publication date: Month: 10 Year: 2012
Volume: 18 Issue: 10
First Page: 1709 Last Page: 1710
PubMed Id: 23017215
ID: 3479867
Publisher Id: 12-0369
DOI: 10.3201/eid1810.120369

Epsilonproteobacteria in Humans, New Zealand Alternate Title:Epsilonproteobacteria in Humans
Susan Bullman
Daniel Corcoran
James O’Leary
Deirdre Byrne
Brigid Lucey
Roy D. Sleator
Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland (S. Bullman, B. Lucey, R.D. Sleator);
and Cork University Hospital, Cork (D. Corcoran, J.O’Leary, D. Byrne, B. Lucey)
Correspondence: Address for correspondence: Brigid Lucey, Department of Medical Microbiology, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland; email:

To the Editor: Cornelius et al. (1) addressed the potential of Campylobacter ureolyticus as an emerging pathogen by conducting a molecular study on 128 diarrheal specimens and 49 fecal samples from healthy volunteers. Reporting the identification of C. ureolyticus in 12 (24.5%) of 49 healthy volunteers, a number that they compared with our finding of 349 (23.8%) from Campylobacter spp.–positive samples (2), the authors concluded that C. ureolyticus species “are unlikely causes of diarrhea,” an assertion with which we take issue.

This interpretation does not take into account that our screening involved 7,194 symptomatic patients: a sample size 40× greater than that of Cornelius et al. In this context, the likely carriage rate for C. ureolyticus is 1.15%. Also, our assay, which has a limit of detection in the picomolar range, is likely comparable with, if not greater than, that of Cornelius et al. (1).

Accounting for variations in geographic location and detection methods, a detection rate of 24.5% in healthy volunteers (overall detection rate 14.7%) is high in contrast to our reported rate of 1.15%. One possible explanation for this discrepancy is that Cornelius et al. “did not specifically exclude volunteers who had had gastrointestinal disturbances in the 10 days before sampling,” Campylobacter can be shed in feces for <4 weeks after infection. Also, Cornelius et al. (1) noted the possibility of “genetically distinct but phenotypically indistinguishable genomospecies differing in their pathogenic potential” to account for the presence of the emerging pathogen C. concisus in healthy volunteers and patients with diarrheal illness. This may also apply for C. ureolyticus.

We reported a strong seasonal prevalence of C. ureolytcius and a bimodal age distribution (2). The lack of any related details from Cornelius et al. may undermine their reported detection rates. These factors strongly suggest that the statement, “these species are unlikely causes of diarrhea,” should, at the very least, be taken under advisement.


Suggested citation for this article: Bullman S, Corcoran D, O’Leary J, Byrne D, Lucey B, Sleator R. Epsilonproteobacteria in humans, New Zealand [letter]. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2012 Oct [date cited].

1. . CorneliusAJ, ChambersS, AitkenJ, BrandtSM, HornB, OnSLEpsilonproteobacteria in humans, New Zealand.Emerg Infect Dis. Year: 2012;18:510–210.3201/eid1803.11087522377283
2. . BullmanS, CorcoranD, O’LearyJ, O’HareD, LuceyB, SleatorRDEmerging dynamics of human campylobacteriosis in southern Ireland.FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. Year: 2011;63:248–5310.1111/j.1574-695X.2011.00847.x22077228

Article Categories:
  • Letters to the Editor
Article Categories:
  • Letter

Keywords: Keywords: Campylobacter, ureolyticus, Epsilonproteobacteria, Helicobacter, Arcobacter, PCR, epidemiology, volunteers, diarrhea, molecular, diagnostic, bacteria, New Zealand.

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