Rabbits can breed for the production of meat and fur. Their meat is considered as a source of human campylobacteriosis; caused by Campylobacter organism's has been recognized as the main etiological agent of human bacterial gastrointestinal disease.
Two hundred and thirty rabbit samples were collected including cloacal swabs from (130), liver (40), intestinal samples (40), water (10) and ration (10) from apparently healthy and diseased rabbits suffering from diarrhea in different farms. All rabbit samples were processed for isolation of Campylobacters. Each sample was homogenized in sterile Thioglycolate broth, incubated at 42 °C for 48 hrs under microaerophilic condition. All The isolates were subjected biochemical tests, such as catalase, oxidase, hippurate hydrolysis test, glycine, sodium chloride (NaCl) 3.5% tolerance test and susceptibility to cephalothin and nalidixic acid. Identified colonies were stored at -70 C in nutrient broths with 15% glycerol until subjected to molecular identification. The results of this study showed that overall Campylobacter isolates was 58 (25.22%) from the different sources sampled. The prevalence of C. jejuni was the most prevalent species 26 (11.30%) in samples taken from rabbits followed by C. coli was 15 (6.52%) then C. lari was 12 (5.22%) and C. hyointestinalis was 5(2.17%). The overall prevalence of C.jejuni and C.coli (74.3%) (25.70%); the difference was notably due to a positive hippurate test result for isolates identified as C.jejuni due to the absence of hippurate hydrolysis for C.coli. Multiplex PCR methods the genus specific (16S rRNA) revealed that 51 (22.17%) Campylobacter species isolates; 27 (52.94%) as C. jejuni specific at323 bp while, 17 (33.33%) produced the C. coli specific at 126 bp and 7 (13.73%) other Campylobacter species.
We concluded that C. jejuni and C. coli are highly prevalent in rabbit farms in Egypt. Control measures for contamination of the rabbit supply should be identified to protect human exposure to Campylobacter spp. Further analysis of rabbit samples by using PCR assay are needed to evaluate the applicability of the method for detection of Campylobacter organisms exposed to an environment.