Local accessory gene sharing among Egyptian Campylobacter potentially promotes the spread of antimicrobial resistance

Shaimaa F Mouftah, Ben Pascoe, Jessica K Calland, Evangelos Mourkas, Naomi Tonkin, Charlotte Lefevre, Danielle Deuker, Sunny Smith, Harry Wickenden, Matthew D Hitchings, Samuel K Sheppard, Mohamed Elhadidy

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3 Citations (SciVal)


Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide, and diarrhoeal disease is a major cause of child morbidity, growth faltering and mortality in low- and middle-income countries. Despite evidence of high incidence and differences in disease epidemiology, there is limited genomic data from studies in developing countries. In this study, we aimed to quantify the extent of gene sharing in local and global populations. We characterized the genetic diversity and accessory-genome content of a collection of Campylobacter isolates from the Cairo metropolitan area, Egypt. In total, 112 Campylobacter isolates were collected from broiler carcasses (n=31), milk and dairy products (n=24), and patients suffering from gastroenteritis (n=57). Among the most common sequence types (STs), we identified the globally disseminated host generalist ST-21 clonal complex (CC21) and the poultry specialists CC206, CC464 and CC48. Notably, CC45 and the cattle-specialist CC42 were under-represented, with a total absence of CC61. Core- and accessory-genome sharing was compared among isolates from Egypt and a comparable collection from the UK (Oxford). Lineage-specific accessory-genome sharing was significantly higher among isolates from the same country, particularly CC21, which demonstrated greater local geographical clustering. In contrast, no geographical clustering was noted in either the core or accessory genome of CC828, suggesting a highly admixed population. A greater proportion of Campylobacter coli isolates were multidrug resistant compared to Campylobacter jejuni. Our results suggest that there is more horizontal transfer of accessory genes between strains in Egypt. This has strong implications for controlling the spread of antimicrobial resistance among this important pathogen.
Original languageEnglish
Article number000834
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partially funded by Zewail City internal research grant fund (ZC 004-2019) and joint ASRT/BA research grant (project number 1110) awarded to M.E. We would like to thank the British Academy of Medical Sciences for funding the research stay of M.E. at the Milner Centre of Evolution, University of Bath, through a Daniel Turnberg Travel Fellowship. Research and computation were performed on MRC CLIMB, supported by the Medical Research Council (MR/L015080/1 and MR/T030062/1). S.K.S. has received support from the Wellcome Trust (088786/C/09/Z) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/I02464X/1 and BB/R003491/1). B.P. is funded by the Medical Research Council (MR/V001213/1) and National Institute of Health (1R01AI158576-01).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Microbiology Society. All rights reserved.


  • Accessory genome
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Campylobacter
  • Population structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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