Flock health indicators and Campylobacter spp. in commercial housed broilers reared in Great Britain

Stephanie A. Bull, Alastair Thomas, Thomas Humphrey, Johanne Ellis-Iversen, Alasdair J. Cook, Roger Lovell, Frieda Jorgensen

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This study investigated the relationship between flock health and Campylobacter infection of housed commercial broilers in Great Britain. Thirty ceca were collected at slaughter from batches of broilers from 789 flocks, at either full or partial depopulation, between December 2003 and March 2006 and examined individually for Campylobacter by direct plating onto selective media. Management and health data were collected from each flock and included information on mortality or culling during rearing, the number of birds rejected for infectious or noninfectious causes at slaughter, the proportion of birds with digital dermatitis (also termed hock burn), and other general characteristics of the flock. Campylobacter spp. were isolated from 280 (35%) flocks. The relationship between bird health and welfare and Campylobacter status of flocks was assessed using random-effects logistic regression models, adjusting for region, month, year, and rearing regime. Campylobacter-positive batches of ceca were associated with higher levels of rejection due to infection (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI95%], 0.98 to 2.30) and digital dermatitis (OR, 2.08; CI95%, 1.20 to 3.61). Furthermore, higher levels of these conditions were also associated with the highest-level category of within-flock Campylobacter prevalence (70 to 100%). These results could indicate that improving health and welfare may also reduce Campylobacter in broilers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)5408-5413
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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