A longitudinal study of Campylobacter distribution in a turkey production chain

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2009



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Background: Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial enteritis worldwide. Handling and eating of contaminated poultry meat has considered as one of the risk factors for human campylobacteriosis. Campylobacter contamination can occur at all stages of a poultry production cycle. The objective of this study was to determine the occurrence of Campylobacter during a complete turkey production cycle which lasts for 1,5 years of time. For detection of Campylobacter, a conventional culture method was compared with a PCR method. Campylobacter isolates from different types of samples have been identified to the species level by a multiplex PCR assay. Methods: Samples (N = 456) were regularly collected from one turkey parent flock, the hatchery, six different commercial turkey farms and from 11 different stages at the slaughterhouse. For the detection of Campylobacter, a conventional culture and a PCR method were used. Campylobacter isolates (n = 143) were identified to species level by a multiplex PCR assay. Results: No Campylobacter were detected in either the samples from the turkey parent flock or from hatchery samples using the culture method. PCR detected Campylobacter DNA in five faecal samples and one fluff and eggshell sample. Six flocks out of 12 commercial turkey flocks where found negative at the farm level but only two were negative at the slaughterhouse. Conclusion: During the brooding period Campylobacter might have contact with the birds without spreading of the contamination within the flock. Contamination of working surfaces and equipment during slaughter of a Campylobacter positive turkey flock can persist and lead to possible contamination of negative flocks even after the end of the day's cleaning and desinfection. Reduction of contamination at farm by a high level of biosecurity control and hygiene may be one of the most efficient ways to reduce the amount of contaminated poultry meat in Finland. Due to the low numbers of Campylobacter in the Finnish turkey production chain, enrichment PCR seems to be the optimal detection method here.
Original languageEnglish
Article number18
JournalActa Veterinaria Scandinavica (Online Edition)
Issue number1
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2009
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 5
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