Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2001
Publication Date: 4/1/2002
Citation: Cox Jr, N.A., Stern, N.J., Wilson, J.L., Musgrove, M.T., Buhr, R.J., Hiett, K.L. 2002. Isolation of campylobacter spp. from semen samples of commercial roosters. Avian Diseases. 717-720.
Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter, an important human enteropathgen associated with poultry, has recently been detected in the reproductive tract of hens. This could mean that parent broilers could transmit the organism to their progeny through the egg. It was decided that if this organism could be found in females, it might also be a contaminant of rooster semen. However, because no information was available on this topic, semen from individually caged commercial roosters was analyzed for the presence of Campylobacter. Fecal and genital swabs were also taken from the same roosters. Campylobacter was recover from ~9% of semen samples, 9% of fecal droppings, and 8% of genital swabs. This information indicates that roosters may also play a role in transmission of the organism to their progeny. This work is useful to scientists researching interventions in the colonization of commercial broilers with Campylobacter
Technical Abstract: Pooled semen samples from 12 groups of commercial broiler breeder roosters were analyzed for Campylobacter. Each group (8 individuals)was sampled weekly for 5 consecutive weeks. Samples were collected by an abdominal massage procedure prior to feeding to minimize fecal contamination. There were 4-8 groups positive during each week's sampling. Only two groups were positive for Campylobacter at all sampling times; two groups were negative each time and eight groups produced variable results. Also, fecal droppings, external swabs of the genitalia, and semen samples were taken from individual roosters between 49 to 65 weeks of age. Of the total 275 semen samples collected, 9.5% contained naturally occurring Campylobacter; while 9.6% of 114 fecal droppings and 7.9% of the 114 genital swabs were positive. Levels of the organism present in the fecal samples ranged from 1.0-4.2 log cfu / g with an average of 2.9 log cfu / g feces. For semen, the levels ranged from as low as enrichment recovery only to as high as 3.1 log cfu/ ml of semen with an average 1.2 log cfu /ml. For swabs of genitalia, the levels of Campylobacter were low enough that recovery was only achieved through enrichment. These data suggest that rooster semen may serve as a vehicle for transmission of Campylobacter to the hen's reproductive tract and subsequently to the fertile egg.