Submitted to: Campylobacter Helicobacter and Related Organisms International Workshop
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/30/2005
Publication Date: 9/6/2005
Citation: Stern, N.J., Reiersen, J., Lowman, R., Bisaillon, R., Fridriksdottir, V., Gunnarsson, E., Hiett, K.L., Callicott, K. 2005. Campylobacter spp at hatch and in intestinal content among iceland breeder flocks. Campylobacter Helicobacter and Related Organisms International Workshop. I-138. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Campylobacter spp. is a major cause of food-borne bacterial disease in humans and, poultry is reported to be an important source for its transmission. The primary source of the organism for broiler chicken flocks has been debated. We attempted to resolve the unanswered question pertaining to vertical transmission by conducting a detailed, prospective study in Iceland. All poultry operations, beginning with the breeder stock eggs (imported from Sweden) are contained in Iceland. Thus, the previously unanswered question relative to the importance of vertical vs. horizontal transmission among broiler chickens was addressed in the present report. We monitored 16 breeder flocks, consisting of ~160,000 birds over 34 months. Flock analysis included pooled fluff samples from the quarantine hatchery and, all were Campylobacter PCR negative. Cultural methods for Campylobacter detection were used to assess colonization status of the bird cecal contents. The Iceland quarantine breeder rearing phase (younger than ~8 weeks old) was tested and, all 147 individuals tested were Campylobacter-negative. 526 pooled fecal samples from non-quarantine breeder flocks, aged 8-24 weeks old were sampled from the next, less bio-secure production “rearing” phase. 5,816 fresh fecal samples were cultured from breeders during intervals of 24-32, 34-45, and 48 to 64 weeks of age under breeder egg-production. Campylobacter was detected in 75 to 100% of the feces tested from these non-quarantined birds. Despite the known rapid spread of Campylobacter from the seminally contaminated individual to most other flock cohorts, the organism was never detected in the quarantine rearing facilities. Only after these flocks were transferred from high bio-security to less bio-secure facilities was the infection detected. We therefore conclude the source of transmission in this large, controlled study was of environmental origin as we observed no evidence to implicate its egg borne-transmission from breeder to broiler stock.