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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #118500


item Craven, Stephen
item Cox, Nelson - Nac
item Stern, Norman

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/25/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Clostridium perfringens is a bacterial pathogen of poultry and a pathogen of man which can be transmitted through poultry products. This study was conducted to determine if the hatchery in the broiler chicken operation could be a source of C. perfringens. Three hatcheries, one for each of three poultry firms, were sampled. Each hatchery was sampled three times for a total of 360 samples. C. perfringens was isolated from egg shell fragments and chick fluff from hatching cabinets and from paper pads placed beneath chicks for transport to the farm. The average incidence of C. perfringens for all samples collected from the three hatcheries was 13%, 23% and 23%. These results indicate that the hatchery is contaminated with C. perfringens, that chicks leaving the hatchery are contaminated with C. perfringens, and that the hatchery could contribute to contamination of commercial chickens with this pathogen.

Technical Abstract: Clostridium perfringens (Cp), a cause of human food-borne and poultry disease, has been isolated from the intestinal tract of poultry and from the processed carcass. Previously we isolated Cp from paper pads used to transport broiler chicks from the hatchery to the farm suggesting that the hatchery may contribute to the transmission of Cp to chickens. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of Cp in samples from the broiler hatchery. Three commercial hatcheries were each sampled three times. For each sampling period, ten samples each of egg shell fragments and chick fluff from the hatchery, 10 paper pads before placement, and 10 paper pads placed underneath chicks for a period of one hour were analyzed for the presence of this organism. Of the total of 90 egg shell samples collected from the three hatcheries, 19% were positive for Cp. Of fluff samples, 29% were positive. Of paper pads before placement beneath chicks, 10% were positive. Of paper pads placed beneath chicks for on hour, 21% were positive. The mean incidence of CP in all 120 samples collected at each of the three hatcheries was 13%, 23% and 23%, respectively, indicating differences between hatcheries in frequency of contamination. Of the total of 360 samples analyzed at the three hatcheries, 20% tested positive. These results confirm that the hatchery is a potential source/reservoir for Cp in the integrated poultry operation.