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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #293008

Title: Can the fertile egg spread Campylobacter from broiler hen to off spring?

item Cox Jr, Nelson
item RICHARSON, L - Former ARS Employee
item MAURER, J - University Of Georgia
item Berrang, Mark
item Cray, Paula
item Buhr, Richard - Jeff
item Byrd Ii, James - Allen
item LEE, M - University Of Georgia
item HOFACRE, C - University Of Georgia
item O'KANE, P - University Of Georgia
item LAMMERDING, A - Public Health Agency Of Canada
item CLARK, A - University Of Toronto
item THAYER, S - University Of Georgia
item DOYLE, M - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: WATT Poultry USA
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2013
Publication Date: 8/1/2013
Citation: Cox Jr, N.A., Richarson, L.J., Maurer, J.J., Berrang, M.E., Cray, P.J., Buhr, R.J., Byrd Ii, J.A., Lee, M.D., Hofacre, C.L., O'Kane, P.M., Lammerding, A.M., Clark, A.G., Thayer, S.G., Doyle, M.P. 2013. Can the fertile egg spread Campylobacter from broiler hen to off spring? WATT Poultry USA. 14(8):26-29.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: There are numerous sources of Campylobacter entry into flocks of commercial poultry, however the environment is often the only source cited. Egg transmission or egg passage of Campylobacter from one generation to the next has traditionally been dismissed as a source of entry because of the inability to culture this microorganism from hatchery samples or from newly hatched chicks. One must remember that egg passage can mean more than vertical, transovarian transmission. Fecal bacteria, including Campylobacter can contaminate the shell, shell membranes and the internal contents of freshly laid fertile eggs. This contamination can be drawn through the shell by temperature differential, aided by the presence of moisture (the “sweating” of the egg) and then, when the chick emerges from the egg, it can ingest living microorganisms such as Campylobacter. When this occurs, the chick can become colonized and ultimately spread this contamination to flock mates in the grow house. As the cultural laboratory methods from Campylobacter continue to improve, our knowledge and full understanding of the ecology of this organism will continue to advance. Therefore in the not-so-distant future, passage of Campylobacter in poultry from one generation to the next via the egg will be universally accepted and as a result, effective intervention strategies will be developed and applied.