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Chlamydiaceae in wild, feral and domestic pigeons in Switzerland and insight into population dynamics by Chlamydia psittaci multilocus sequence typing


Mattmann, Prisca; Marti, Hanna; Borel, Nicole; Jelocnik, Martina; Albini, Sarah; Vogler, Barbara Renate (2019). Chlamydiaceae in wild, feral and domestic pigeons in Switzerland and insight into population dynamics by Chlamydia psittaci multilocus sequence typing. PLoS ONE, 14(12):e0226088.

Abstract

Feral pigeons, common wood pigeons and Eurasian collared doves are the most common representatives of the Columbidae family in Switzerland and are mostly present in highly populated, urban areas. Pigeons may carry various members of the obligate intracellular Chlamydiaceae family, particularly Chlamydia (C.) psittaci, a known zoonotic agent, and C. avium. The objective of the study was to identify the infection rates of common free-roaming pigeons for different Chlamydia species with the overall aim to assess the risk pigeons pose to public health. In this study, 431 pigeons (323 feral pigeons, 34 domestic pigeons, 39 Eurasian collared doves, 35 common wood pigeons) from several geographic locations in Switzerland were investigated for the presence of Chlamydiaceae. Samples consisted of pooled choanal-cloacal swabs (n = 174), liver samples (n = 52), and paired swab and liver samples from 205 pigeons (n = 410). All 636 samples were screened using a Chlamydiaceae family-specific 23S rRNA real-time PCR (qPCR). Subsequent species identification was performed by DNA-microarray assay, sequencing of a 16S rRNA gene fragment and a C. psittaci specific qPCR. In total, 73 of the 431 pigeons tested positive for Chlamydiaceae, of which 68 were positive for C. psittaci, four were C. avium-positive and one pigeon was co-infected with C. avium and C. psittaci. The highest infection rates were detected in feral (64/323) and domestic pigeons (5/34). Common wood pigeons (2/35) and Eurasian collared doves (2/39) revealed lower infection rates. Additionally, multilocus sequence typing of twelve selected C. psittaci-positive samples revealed closely related sequence types (ST) between and within different Swiss cities. Furthermore, liver and corresponding swab samples from the same bird were colonized by the same ST. Considering the high infection rates of C. psittaci in domestic and feral pigeons, close or frequent contact to these birds poses a human health risk.

Abstract

Feral pigeons, common wood pigeons and Eurasian collared doves are the most common representatives of the Columbidae family in Switzerland and are mostly present in highly populated, urban areas. Pigeons may carry various members of the obligate intracellular Chlamydiaceae family, particularly Chlamydia (C.) psittaci, a known zoonotic agent, and C. avium. The objective of the study was to identify the infection rates of common free-roaming pigeons for different Chlamydia species with the overall aim to assess the risk pigeons pose to public health. In this study, 431 pigeons (323 feral pigeons, 34 domestic pigeons, 39 Eurasian collared doves, 35 common wood pigeons) from several geographic locations in Switzerland were investigated for the presence of Chlamydiaceae. Samples consisted of pooled choanal-cloacal swabs (n = 174), liver samples (n = 52), and paired swab and liver samples from 205 pigeons (n = 410). All 636 samples were screened using a Chlamydiaceae family-specific 23S rRNA real-time PCR (qPCR). Subsequent species identification was performed by DNA-microarray assay, sequencing of a 16S rRNA gene fragment and a C. psittaci specific qPCR. In total, 73 of the 431 pigeons tested positive for Chlamydiaceae, of which 68 were positive for C. psittaci, four were C. avium-positive and one pigeon was co-infected with C. avium and C. psittaci. The highest infection rates were detected in feral (64/323) and domestic pigeons (5/34). Common wood pigeons (2/35) and Eurasian collared doves (2/39) revealed lower infection rates. Additionally, multilocus sequence typing of twelve selected C. psittaci-positive samples revealed closely related sequence types (ST) between and within different Swiss cities. Furthermore, liver and corresponding swab samples from the same bird were colonized by the same ST. Considering the high infection rates of C. psittaci in domestic and feral pigeons, close or frequent contact to these birds poses a human health risk.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Food Safety and Hygiene
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Veterinary Pathology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:30 December 2019
Deposited On:13 Feb 2020 15:13
Last Modified:15 Mar 2020 06:57
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226088

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