Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Several bacterial enteropathogens, including salmonellae, Campylobacter jejuni, and Clostridium perfringens can be transmitted to humans through consumption of poultry products. Identifying the primary sources of these pathogens during poultry production is essential for developing targeted and effective strategies for reducing these pathogens in poultry. A potential source of bacterial pathogens are populations of wild animals near poultry houses that could find their way into the houses and leave their contaminated intestinal droppings. This study was undertaken to develop for use on a large-scale basis a method for sampling wild birds found on poultry farms and evaluate their potential to transmit these pathogens. Several techniques were tested, including cloacal swabs and direct intestinal samples of European starlings and house sparrows taken with a pellet gun. The most successful method for sampling intestinal contents consisted of collecting intestinal droppings of wild birds found on structures or locations near the poultry house. Of a total of 124 intestinal, fecal, and cloacal samples found on four farms with poultry facilities, 10% were positive for Salmonella spp., 10% positve for C. jejuni, and 23% positive for C. perfringens. The incidence of these bacterial enteropathogens in wild birds near poultry houses suggests that those birds gaining entry to a house have a potential to trasmit these pathogens to the resident poultry.
Technical Abstract: Several methods were evaluated for collecting fecal and intestinal samples from wild birds found near broiler chicken houses. A few intestinal samples and cloacal swabs were obtained from starlings and English sparrows taken with a pellet gun. Most of the samples collected consisted of wild- bird droppings found on or near the houses. Of the twenty-five wild bird intestinal and fecal samples collected from a broiler house on farm A during a grow out cycle in July-August, 24% were positive for Salmonella spp., 4% for Campylobacter jejuni, and 28% for Clostridium perfringens. Of the nine fecal samples collected from broiler house B in a grow out cycle in September-November, 33% were positive for Salmonella spp., 11% for C. jejuni, and 22% for C. perfringens. Of the 4 fecal samples of other domestic and wild animals collected near the chicken house on farm A, 25% were positive for Salmonella spp., and non were positive for C. jejuni or C. perfringens. Of the 9 fecal samples of other animals collected near the house on farm B, 11% were positive for Salmonella spp., none for C. jejuni and 22% for C. perfringens. The incidence of these bacterial enteropathogens in wild birds near the houses suggests that wild birds that gain entry to poultry growout houses have the potential to transmit these pathogens to poultry.