The effect of reducing numbers of Campylobacter in broiler intestines on human health risk

Maarten Nauta, Gro Johannessen, Laura Laureano Adame, Nicola Williams, Hanne Rosenquist

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


One option for Campylobacter control in broiler chickens is to reduce the concentration in the intestinal content of the birds prior to slaughter, for example by vaccination or phage therapy. It is however unsure how such a reduction in concentration can be translated into a reduction in concentration on the meat and a reduction in the human health risk of campylobacteriosis. In this study, two methods are presented and compared. The first is a linear regression model, based on count data from caecal contents and skin sample data, obtained after processing from the same flocks. Alternatively, a previously published risk assessment model is used, that describes the dynamics of transfer and survival of Campylobacter during broiler processing at the slaughterhouse. Data from five European countries are used as inputs for the models. For both approaches the analyses show that a one to two log reduction in concentration in the intestinal content has a large impact on the risk of campylobacteriosis due to the consumption of chicken meat: a relative risk reduction between 44% and 95%. Therefore it seems promising to aim interventions at a reduction of the concentration of Campylobacter in the broiler intestines. However, it is not possible to derive a generic rule that can be used to relate a reduction in concentration in broiler intestines into a reduction in human health risk. Regression models based on different data sets predict different relationships between bacterial count data from caeca and skins, whereas the risk assessment model requires data on contamination of the birds’ exterior, which is not sufficiently available in combination with caecal concentration data. Simulations performed with the risk assessment model show that it can pretty well adequately describe the observed correlation in the data and the variation in regression lines obtained.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobial Risk Analysis
Pages (from-to)68-77
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Campylobacter control
  • Risk assessment
  • Regression
  • Colonization level
  • Europe


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of reducing numbers of Campylobacter in broiler intestines on human health risk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this