Cloacal swabs were obtained from live ostriches reared on 30 different farms situated in South Africa (Oudtshoorn) during the period of June 2018 to July 2019 to determine the prevalence of Campylobacter and Arcobacter species. PCR (n = 168 pooled cloacal swabs), the Cape Town protocol (n = 836 cloacal swabs), International Organization for Standardization ISO 10272-1:2006 (n = 836 cloacal swabs), and a selective Arcobacter spp. method (n = 415 cloacal swabs) were used for detection. PCR determined an average prevalence of 24.63% for species belonging to the Campylobacteraceae family. The ISO 10272-1:2006 method determined a Campylobacter spp. prevalence level of 16.83%, while the Cape Town protocol could not detect Campylobacter spp. For Arcobacter spp., a prevalence of 18.80 and 39.14% was determined with the Cape Town protocol and the selective Arcobacter spp. method, respectively. Results showed that prevalence levels could be influenced by season, the source of water, and the presence of wild water birds. Higher prevalence levels for Campylobacter spp. (23.38%) and Arcobacter spp. (68%) were detected in ostriches sampled during spring and autumn, respectively. Higher prevalence levels for Campylobacter spp. (25.23%) and Arcobacter spp. (44.50%) were detected in ostriches reared on farms that made use of borehole water. Higher prevalence levels for Arcobacter spp. (44.38%) were seen in ostriches reared on farms with wild water birds. This research shows that ostriches from South Africa can be considered as potential carriers of species belonging to the Campylobacteraceae family.
Campylobacter and Arcobacter species were detected in ostriches on farms in South Africa.
Prevalence was influenced by season, wild water birds, and water sources.
Selective methods were better at detecting Campylobacter and Arcobacter species.