Submitted to: Annual North Carolina Turkey Industry Days
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2013
Publication Date: October 2, 2013
Citation: Crespo Rodriguez, M.D., Grimes, J.L., Katharious, S., Cox Jr, N.A., Buhr, R.J., Smith, D.P. 2013. Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination of turkeys, from breeders to processed carcasses. Annual North Carolina Turkey Industry Days. Section 8 p.1-15. Interpretive Summary: Salmonella and Campylobacter are two main pathogens of public health concern associated with poultry but the mechanism of transmission of these organisms through fertile turkey eggs has not been researched. A flock of 140 turkey breeder poults were inoculated with marker strains of Salmonella and Campylobacter at 10 days and 12 weeks of age. Salmonella inoculated into semen was found in the upper reproductive tract of breeder hens and Campylobacter were found on 90% of the processed carcasses of the offspring. Vertical transmission of both Salmonella and Campylobacter could not be demonstrated probably because the flock size was very small in number. Additional research will be required to clearly identify the various routes of transmission which in turn would be used to develop effective intervention strategies. Key words: Salmonella, Campylobacter, turkeys, breeders, processing
Technical Abstract: Salmonella and Campylobacter are two main pathogens of public health concern very often associated with poultry and eggs. Both are zoonotic bacteria frequently colonizing intestinal tracts of turkeys. However, the mechanisms of transmission of these organisms through fertile turkey eggs, and consequently the possibility of colonization of the offspring have received less attention. The objective of this study was to determine transmission routes and incidence rates throughout the chain, including finished product. A flock of 140 turkey breeder poults was placed in a growout house after the housing environment was sanitized and tested for the presence of Salmonella and Campylobacter. Poults were separated by sex, then separated further into Treatment (82 females and 22 males) and Control (28 females and 8 males) groups and placed in different sides of the house. Treatment birds were inoculated via gavage at 10 days old and 12 weeks old with marker Salmonella and Campylobacter strains. Control poults were inoculated at the same time using phosphate buffered saline solution (PBS). Fecal droppings were analyzed weekly. Blood, organs, semen and reproductive tract, as feed and drinkers, and vectors of transmission such as insects and mice, were periodically tested for Salmonella and Campylobacter presence. Eggs and offspring fecal samples and organs were analyzed during active reproductive age. Processed carcasses from meat birds originating from the breeder flock were tested for prevalence of bacteria. Research directed at assessing the carriage rate and reducing both the incidence and levels of Salmonella and Campylobacter in turkey and turkey products may help to reduce human exposure and economic costs associated with food-borne illness.