Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2003
Publication Date: 7/27/2004
Citation: Cox, Jr., N.A., Wilson, J.L., Musgrove, M.T., Buhr, R.J., Sander, J.E., Hudson, B.P. 2004. Positive relationship of ALV-J to the detection of Campylobacter in the digestive tract and semen of broiler breeder roosters. Poultry Science. 13:44-47.
Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter is an important foodborne pathogen closely associated with poultry. The J virus decreases fertility and causes death in broiler chicken breeder flocks. In this study, we determined that birds infected with the J virus also had increased levels of Campylobacter in their feces and semen. Rooster semen can serve as a vehicle for the transmission of Campylobacter to the breeder hen, the fertile egg, and their progeny. Ultimately, the safety of market poultry is affected. This information emphasizes for the broiler industry the importance of controlling the J virus both in terms of bird and human health
Technical Abstract: The presence of ALV-J (J virus) in broiler breeder flocks can reduce fertility, increase mortality, as well as decrease weight and shell quality of fertile eggs. For those and other reasons, the J virus has received much attention in recent years. Our objective was to determine if the presence of this virus in mature roosters could affect the presence and level of shed of Campylobacter from the digestive tract (ceca) and the reproductive tract (semen). There were two separate groups of individually caged commercial broiler breeder roosters. One group contained 67 healthy birds and the other group contained 35 birds infected by J-virus. At 65 weeks of age, individual samples were obtained from each rooster and analyzed for Campylobacter. For healthy birds, 20 of 67 (30%) had an average level of 3.6 log cfu Campylobacter/g ceca. In the J-virus group, 15 of 28 (53.6) had Campylobacter in their ceca with an average level of 4.3 log cfu/g ceca. In semen samples taken just a few days before birds were sacrificed, 7/66 (10.6) healthy rooster shed Campylobacter at 1.4 log cfu/ml on average. For the j-virus group, 5 out of 20 (25%) were shedding Campylobacter at a level of 1.9 log/ml. From these data, it appears that a J-Virus infection in late life broiler breeder roosters results in an increased incidence and level of Campylobacter in both the digestive and reproductive tracts. These results indicate that J-virus infection not only depresses rooster fertility and viability, but those roosters that are producing semen also have higher incidences and levels of Campylobacter.