Immediate culturing of fecal specimens is not always possible, and appropriate methods for transport and storage of Campylobacter fetus subsp. jejuni specimens have not been fully evaluated. Using nine techniques, we studied the survival of C. fetus subsp. jejuni in cecal specimens from infected turkeys. The organisms survived in specimens held without transport medium for 3 to 15 days (median, 9 days) at 4°C, and 2 to 9 days (median, 4 days) at 25°C. Only 20% of specimens frozen for 24 h at either -20 or -70°C yielded C. fetus subsp. jejuni. Specimens dried on filter paper strips were negative for C. fetus subsp. jejuni within 1.5 h. Cary-Blair medium with decreased agar was the best of the six transport media tested, it enabled recovery of the organism from 100% (3 days) and 71% (7 days) of cecal samples held at 4°C and 94% (3 days) and 85% (7 days) of cecal specimens held at 25°C. In contrast, more than half of all cecal specimens held at 4 or 25°C in Culturettes or buffered glycerol saline were negative by 3 days, and all were negative at 7 days. Results with the other three media studied (Campy-thio, thioglycolate medium, and alkaline peptone water) were intermediate. Overnight incubation of specimens in alkaline peptone water at 37 or 42°C did not enhance recovery of C. fetus subsp. jejuni. Therefore, refrigeration without a transport medium is satisfactory for up to 3 days for recovery of C. fetus subsp. jejuni from specimens; however, we recommend the use of Cary-Blair medium with decreased agar for specimens that must be transported or stored for longer than 3 days and for rectal swabs, to prevent drying.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)