This project was a year year part-time MSc project undertaken at the University of Edinburgh Vet School. The objectives of the project were to determine the prevalence of campylobacter species in wild game pheasants processed in Approved Game Handling Establishments (AGHE) in Scotland, to identify the strain types found in pheasants and to determine if these are the same as those isolated from broilers and humans in Scotland.
The research found that wild game birds are a reservoir of campylobacter. The STs found in pheasants are overall more common in livestock than chickens, raising the possibility of cross-infection between pheasants, cattle and sheep in the field. Two hundred and eighty seven caeca and 59 skin samples were collected from pheasant carcases during the hunting season 2013/2014. Laboratory isolation of campylobacter was performed using standard culture methods and positive caecal samples were subjected to PCR and High Throughput Multi Locus Sequence Typing (MLST). 36.5% of 287 caecal samples were campylobacter positive while all 59 skin samples were negative.