Molecular subtypes of Campylobacter spp., Salmonella enterica, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolated from faecal and surface water samples in the Oldman River watershed, Alberta, Canada
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Campylobacter spp., Salmonella enterica, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolated from 898 faecal, 43 sewage, and 342 surface water samples from the Oldman River were characterized using bacterial subtyping methods in order to investigate potential sources of contamination of the watershed. Among these pathogens, Campylobacter spp. were the most frequently isolated from faecal, sewage, and surface water samples (266/895, 11/43, and 91/342, respectively), followed by Salmonella (67/898, 8/43, and 29/342, respectively), and E. coli O157:H7 (16/898, 2/43, and 8/342, respectively). Salmonella Rubislaw was the most common serovar isolated from water. This serovar was also isolated from two wild bird species. Most other serovars isolated from water were either not isolated from animals or were isolated from multiple species. E. coli O157:H7 was predominantly isolated from cattle. The most common phage-types of this pathogen from cattle were also the most common among water isolates, and there were exact pulsed field gel electrophoresis and comparative genomic fingerprint matches between cattle, sewage, and water isolates. Campylobacters were commonly isolated from surface waters and faeces from most animal species. Restriction fragment length polymorphism of the Campylobacter flaA gene identified several location and host species-specific (cattle, goose, pig) fingerprints. Molecular subtyping of these bacterial pathogens shows considerable promise as a tool for determining the sources of faecal pollution of water.