Rodents As Carriers of Disease: Preliminary Studies in the United Kingdom
  Key Words  
  Disease, Campylobacter, Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis, Salmonella
  Colin V Prescott and Alex Stuart
  The University of Reading has conducted some preliminary work on the prevalence of Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp. and Arenavirus in Norway rats trapped from farms and semi-urban areas in central southern England. Campylobacter is the cause of a notificable disease in the UK, with 57,772 cases reported for England and Wales in 2009. Transmission to humans is believed to be primarily through undercooked meat, from contaminated water, and through contact with pets; and symptoms include a high temperature, severe diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Ninety-seven per-cent of sporadic cases have been attributed to farm animals, and in particular the meat and poultry industry. There are eighteen species of Campylobacter, eleven of which can be pathogenic to humans; although the principal species that cause gastrointestinal disease in humans are C. jejuni and C. coli; although C. lari, C. helveticus and C. upsaliensis are also involved. Salmonella species also causes a gastrointestinal disease, and in the UK, is common in chicken and has been linked to egg production. Species are typed using antigen specific agglutination tests, or by their susceptibility to specific bacteriophage. Some strains are known to be linked with human disease (eg. S. enteritidis PT4).