Submitted to: WATT Poultry USA
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 3, 2010
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Citation: Cox Jr, N.A., Richardson, L.J., Buhr, R.J., Cray, P.J., Vizzier-Thaxton, Y. 2010. Campylobacter – How did it get in the chicken?. WATT Poultry USA. 11(9):22-25. Technical Abstract: One of the most important bacteria causing human foodborne illness is Campylobacter. It has been associated with undercooked commercial poultry and at present each and every source of introduction into broiler flocks is not known. In past years, it was thought that the only source of Campylobacter was from horizontal transmission from environmental sources. Recent evidence has suggested that vertical transmission does exist between broiler breeder parent flocks and their progeny. Campylobacter were found to be present in the internal organs of commercial broiler breeder hens. For samples of thymus, spleen, liver/gallbladder and ceca, naturally occurring Campylobacter were isolated 25.6, 18.6, 9.3 and 69.8% of the time, respectively. Also the reproductive tracts of 61 and 62 week old commercial breeder hens were sampled for Campylobacter and found to be present in 4/12 magnum, 2/12 isthmus, 7/12 shell glands, 10/12 vaginas and 12/12 cloaca samples. In addition, Campylobacter were naturally found to be present in 7/55 immature follicle samples and 12/47 mature follicle samples in commercial broiler breeder hens ranging in age from 60 to 66 weeks. Campylobacter colonization of the reproductive tract plus the reasonably high recovery rate from the hen ovarian follicles suggest that these breeder hens could be infecting fertile hatching eggs and could enable vertical transmission of Campylobacter from the hen to the chick.