Persistent environmental reservoirs on farms as risk factors for Campylobacter in commercial poultry
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Campylobacter is the most common known source of human bacterial enteritis in the developed world and poultry is considered the main source. Broilers often become colonized with Campylobacter during rearing, and then contaminate the farm environment. The objective of this study was to identify Campylobacter-positive environmental reservoirs on farms, as these pose a risk to broiler flocks becoming colonized with Campylobacter. We considered the temporal aspects of exposure and colonization. A longitudinal study monitored six conventional rearing farms over 2 years. The broiler flocks, catchers’ equipment, vehicles, shed surrounds, shed entrance, other equipment, farm entrance, other animals, puddles, dead birds, mains water and drinkers were systematically sampled 2–4 times per flock. A multivariable generalized estimating equation model was used to assess associations between contaminated environmental sites and colonized broiler flocks. The associations were adjusted for confounders and other known risk factors. To further assess temporality of contamination, the sequence of contamination of the different environmental sites and the flocks was established. Contaminated shed entrances and anterooms, contaminated drinkers and shedding of Campylobacter by other animals such as cattle, dogs, wildlife and rodents were significantly associated with positive flocks. The reservoir of ‘other animals’ was also the reservoir most commonly positive before the flock became colonized. The other sites usually became contaminated after the flock was colonized.
Journal Title/Title of Proceedings
Epidemiology and Infection