Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/24/2001
Publication Date: 7/20/2002
Citation: COX JR, N.A., STERN, N.J., HIETT, K.L., BERRANG, M.E. IDENFITICATION OF A NEW SOURCE OF CAMPYLOBACTER CONTAMINATION IN POULTRY: TRANSMISSION FROM BREEDER HENS TO BROILER CHICKENS. AVIAN DISEASES. 2002. 46:535-541. Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter jejuni, a foodborne pathogen closely associated with market poultry is considered to be the most frequent agent of human gastroenteritis both in the United States and worldwide. The primary source of Campylobacter infection in poultry flocks is presently unknown. The present study compared Campylobacter isolates from three parent flocks of breeder hens to those isolates obtained from their respective offspring and found that they were of clonal origin. This is the first conclusive evidence that Campylobacter can pass from one generation to the next in broilers. Therefore intervention strategies will have to aggressively target locations or potential sources that were previously excluded in order to produce safer poultry food products.
Technical Abstract: Campylobacter jejuni, a foodborne pathogen closely associated with market poultry, is considered to be the most frequent agent of human gastroenteritis in the United States. The pathways involved in Campylobacter infection of poultry flocks, vertical transmission and/or horizontal transmission, remain unclear. In this study, Campylobacter isolates from commercial broiler breeder flocks, as well as from progeny, were characterized and compared by ribotyping and by DNA sequencing of the short variable region (SVR) of the flaA gene. Ribotype patterns were identical for Campylobacter isolates derived from related parent and progeny. Additionally, DNA sequence analysis provided strong evidence that isolates of Campylobacter from related sources were of clonal origin. This report provides the first evidence that suggests that Campylobacter can pass from one generation to the next in broilers.