Submitted to: Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/13/2006
Publication Date: 3/20/2007
Citation: Andersen, M.E., Wesley, I.V., Nestor, E., Trampel, D.W. 2007. Prevalence of Arcobacter species in market-weight commercial turkeys. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 92:309-317.
Interpretive Summary: Arcobacter butzleri is an emerging food-borne pathogen linked to consumption of contaminated poultry. It is recovered from live hogs and cattle as well as from beef and pork. It is frequently isolated from poultry but rarely from live birds. The goal of this study was to estimate the prevalence of Arcobacter in live turkeys on six Midwestern flocks. Arcobacter was detected only in ~2% of both cloacal swabs and cecal contents of turkeys, which suggests that Arcobacter infrequently colonizes the bird intestine. The prevalence of Arcobacter in drinker water decreased from 67% in the summer to 24.7% in the spring and was inversely related to the chlorination level. Despite its low prevalence in live turkeys, Arcobacter spp. were readily isolated from 93% of carcasses. This suggests that the high carcass contamination rate may result from post-harvest rather than pre-harvest contamination.
Technical Abstract: The prevalence of Arcobacter in live turkeys was determined for six Midwestern commercial flocks. In the first study (summer 2003), cloacal (n=298) and feather swabs (n=75), cecal (n=70) and crop (n=50) contents, drinker water (n=46) and environmental (n=25) samples were monitored. In the second study (spring 2004), ceca (n=75), crops (n=75) and water (n=73) were evaluated. Carcasses (n=150) and environmental swabs of the growout house (n=50) were evaluated in the third study (summer 2004). Initially, EMJH-P80 and CVA isolated Arcobacter from 7.1% (40 of 564) of samples, while Arcobacter enrichment broth and selective agar recovered the microbe in 4.7% of samples (23 of 489 samples). Although EMJH-P80 coupled with CVA yielded Arcobacter more frequently, the selectivity of the modified Arcobacter agar enhanced the recognition of Arcobacter colonies. A multiplex PCR was used to identify all Arcobacter species and to differentiate Arcobacter butzleri. The prevalence of Arcobacter detected in cloacal swab (2.0%, 6 of 298 samples) and cecal contents (2.1%, 3 of 145 samples) suggests that Arcobacter infrequently colonizes the intestinal tract. The overall prevalence of Arcobacter in drinker water decreased from 67% (31 of 46 samples) in the summer of 2003 to 24.7% (18 of 73 samples) during resampling in the spring of 2004 and was inversely related to the chlorination level. Despite its low prevalence in live turkeys, Arcobacter spp.were isolated from 93% of carcass swabs (139 of 150 samples).