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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Cox, Nelson - Nac
item Bailey, Joseph
item Richardson, Larry
item Buhr, Richard - Jeff
item Cosby, Douglas
item Wilson, J
item Hiett, Kelli
item Siragusa, Gregory
item Bourassa, D

Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/3/2005
Publication Date: 5/1/2005
Citation: Cox Jr, N.A., Bailey, J.S., Richardson, L.J., Buhr, R.J., Cosby, D.E., Wilson, J.L., Hiett, K.L., Siragusa, G.R., Bourassa, D.V. 2005. Presence of naturally occurring campylobacter and salmonella in the mature and immature ovarian follicles of late-life broiler breeder hens. Avian Disease. 49(2):285-287.

Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter and Salmonella are foodborne pathogens associated with poultry. Little is known about the level and persistence of these organisms in the ovarian follicles of birds. In this study, we found that the mature and immature ovarian follicles of female birds are naturally contaminated with Campylobacter at a fairly high rate and Salmonella at a fairly low rate. The presence of Campylobacter in these ovarian follicles at a high rate, suggest that these breeder hens could be infecting fertile hatching eggs.

Technical Abstract: Campylobacter and Salmonella are known to cause acute bacterial gastroenteritis in humans. Raw poultry products have been implicated as a significant source of these infections. Five trials were conducted to determine if Campylobacter and Salmonella spp. exist naturally in the mature and immature ovarian follicles of late-life broiler breeder hens. Broiler breeder hens ranging from 60-66 weeks of age were obtained from four different commercial breeder operations. For each trial, the hens were removed from the commercial operation and held overnight at the University of Georgia processing facility. The hens were euthanized, de-feathered and aseptically opened. To reduce the possibility of cross-contamination between samples, the mature and immature ovarian follicles were aseptically removed, then the ceca. Individual samples were placed in sterile bags, packed on ice and transported to the laboratory for evaluation. Overall, Campylobacter was found in 7/55 immature follicles, 12/47 mature follicles and 41/55 ceca. Campylobacter was found in at least one of each sample of mature follicles and ceca in each of the five trials. Salmonella was found in 0/55 immature follicles, 1/47 mature follicles and 8/55 ceca. In this study, the recovery rate of Salmonella from late-life broiler breeder hen ovarian follicles was relatively low. However, the recovery rate of Campylobacter from the hen ovarian follicles was reasonably high suggesting that these breeder hens could be infecting fertile hatching eggs. Determining how Campylobacter contaminated these ovarian follicles and how many chicks may become colonized from this source are the next steps in helping to elucidate a better understanding of this ecology and control of Campylobacter in poultry production.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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