Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 20, 2002
Publication Date: May 20, 2002
Citation: CRAVEN, S.E., COX JR, N.A., BAILEY, J.S., COSBY, D.E. INCIDENCE AND TRACKING OF CLOSTRIDIUM PERFRINGENS THROUGH AN INTEGRATED BROILER CHICKEN OPERATION. AVIAN DISEASES. 2002. V. 47:707-711. Interpretive Summary: Clostridium perfringens is a bacterial pathogen that causes disease in commercial poultry and also may cause food poisoning in humans through consumption of poultry contaminated with this organism. In order to develop effective approaches to reduce contamination of poultry with C. perfringens and subsequent disease problems, more information is needed about the sources and transmission routes of this pathogen in the poultry production and processing arenas. This study was designed to determine the incidence and to track the transmission of C. perfringens in the broiler chicken integrated operation including the breeder farm, the hatchery, the grow-out house on the farm, and the final product leaving the processing plant. The mean incidence of C. perfringens in samples collected over two trials was 21%, 30%, 18%, 4%, and 12% from the breeder farm, the hatchery, the previous grow-out flock, the grow-out flock at 3-5 weeks of age and the processed carcasses, respectively. The relationship of C. perfringen obtained from these facilities was determined by genetic typing using a commercial riboprinter. Results suggest that certain ribotypes of C. perfringens may be transmitted from the breeder farm to the hatchery to the grow-out farm to the processed carcass. This is the first study to demonstrate that C. perfringens may be transmitted from these production facilities to the final processed product that is shipped to the consumer.
Technical Abstract: Clostridium perfringens has been shown to be widespread in the broiler chicken hatchery, grow-out and processing operations. In a previous study, ribotypes of some strains of C. perfringens isolated from processed chicken carcasses were shown to match ribotypes isolated from paper pads lining trays used to transport commercial chicks from the hatchery to the grow-out thouse on the farm suggesting that C. perfringens contaminating the processed product could originate from facilities in the integrated operation prior to grow-out. In this study, samples were collected from the breeder farm, hatchery, previous grow-out flock, during grow-out and after processing. In the first trial, C. perfringens was recovered from the breeder farm, the hatchery, previous grow-out flock, grow-out flock at three weeks-of-age, grow-out flock at five weeks-of-age, from processed carcasses, and from the breeder farm after processing in 4, 30, 4, 0, 2 and d16, and 4% of the samples, respectively. In the second trial, the incidence of C. perfringens in samples collected from breeder farms, the hatchery, previous grow-out flock, grow-out flock at three weeks-of-age, grow-out flocks at five weeks-of-age, and from processed carcasses was 38, 30, 32, 8, 4 and 8% respectively. The genetic relatedness of the isolated strains determined by ribotyping suggests that C. perfringens may be transmitted between facilities within the integrated broiler chicken operation.