Given that Campylobacter jejuni is recognized as the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide, recent findings showing comparable levels of Campylobacter concisus in patients with gastroenteritis would suggest that this bacterium is clinically important. The prevalence and abundance of Campylobacter concisus in stool samples collected from patients with acute gastroenteritis was examined using quantitative real-time PCR. The associated virulence determinants exotoxin 9 and zonula occludens toxin DNA were detected for Campylobacter concisus-infected samples using real-time PCR. Campylobacter concisus was detected at high prevalence in patients with gastroenteritis (49.7 %), higher than that observed for Campylobacter jejuni (∼5 %). The levels of Campylobacter concisus were putatively classified into clinically relevant and potentially transient subgroups based on a threshold developed using Campylobacter jejuni levels, as the highly sensitive real-time PCR probably detected transient passage of the bacterium from the oral cavity. A total of 18 % of patients were found to have clinically relevant levels of Campylobacter concisus, a significant number of which also had high levels of one of the virulence determinants. Of these patients, 78 % were found to have no other gastrointestinal pathogen identified in the stool, which strongly suggests a role for Campylobacter concisus in the aetiology of gastroenteritis in these patients. These results emphasize the need for diagnostic laboratories to employ identification protocols for emerging Campylobacter species. Clinical follow-up in patients presenting with high levels of Campylobacter concisus in the intestinal tract is needed, given that it has been associated with more chronic sequelae.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.