Genomic epidemiology of Campylobacter jejuni associated with asymptomatic pediatric infection in the Peruvian Amazon

Ben Pascoe, Francesca Schiaffino, Susan Murray, Guillaume Méric, Sion C Bayliss, Matthew D Hitchings, Evangelos Mourkas, Jessica K Calland, Rosa Burga, Pablo Peñataro Yori, Keith A Jolley, Kerry K Cooper, Craig T Parker, Maribel Paredes Olortegui, Margaret N Kosek, Samuel K Sheppard

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16 Citations (SciVal)


Campylobacter is the leading bacterial cause of gastroenteritis worldwide and its incidence is especially high in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Disease epidemiology in LMICs is different compared to high income countries like the USA or in Europe. Children in LMICs commonly have repeated and chronic infections even in the absence of symptoms, which can lead to deficits in early childhood development. In this study, we sequenced and characterized C. jejuni (n = 62) from a longitudinal cohort study of children under the age of 5 with and without diarrheal symptoms, and contextualized them within a global C. jejuni genome collection. Epidemiological differences in disease presentation were reflected in the genomes, specifically by the absence of some of the most common global disease-causing lineages. As in many other countries, poultry-associated strains were likely a major source of human infection but almost half of local disease cases (15 of 31) were attributable to genotypes that are rare outside of Peru. Asymptomatic infection was not limited to a single (or few) human adapted lineages but resulted from phylogenetically divergent strains suggesting an important role for host factors in the cryptic epidemiology of campylobacteriosis in LMICs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0008533
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
SKS is funded by the Medical Research Council (MR/L015080/1; and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/P504750/1; Isolate sampling and collection was funded by the National Institute of Health (K01-TW05717; https:// and MK received further support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1066146; The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Public Library of Science. All rights reserved.


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