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Background and objectives: Arcobacter is an emerging zoonotic pathogen with a wide range of habitats and hosts. Arcobacter (A.) butzleri and A. cryaerophilus have been classified as a serious hazard to human health and consumption of contaminated food and water is considered to be the major transmission route to humans. This study reports the prevalence of Arcobacter spp. in retail seafood samples in Germany.
Materials and methods: Samples were purchased from supermarkets and retail shops throughout Berlin and Arcobacter spp. isolated by a selective enrichment step followed by a filter method on nonselective agar plates. By mPCR and rpoB sequencing Arcobacter was verified at genus and species level.
Results: Arcobacter spp. were isolated from 16 out of 199 seafood samples. For squids 11.8 % (4/34), mussels 8.8 % (6/68) and shrimps 7.1 % (6/84) of the samples contained Arcobacter spp., while no Arcobacter were detected in scallop samples (0/13). Most of the isolates belong to the species A. butzleri (44 %), followed by A. cryaerophilus (37 %), A. venerupis (12.5 %) and A. skirrowii (6.5 %).
Conclusion: Although other reports of Arcobacter spp. in retail seafood are higher, e.g. 17.4 % - 41.1 % in Spain, 22.7 % in Chile and 14.7 % - 21.3 % in India, our data support the potential risk of Arcobacter transmission to humans by consumption of seafood samples in Germany.