Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2002
Publication Date: 2/1/2003
Citation: Craven, S.E., Cox Jr, N.A., Bailey, J.S., Cosby, D.E. 2003. Incidence and tracking of Clostridium perfringens through an integrated broiler chicken operation. Avian Diseases. 47(3):707-711. Interpretive Summary: Clostridium perfringens is recognized as an enteric bacterial pathogen in humans, poultry, other domestic animals and wildlife. It has been isolated from processed broilers and the processing plant and is reported to be a major cause of human outbreaks from poultry. This study demonstrated that C. perfringens is transmitted between facilities (breeder farm, hatchery, previous grow-out flock) within the integrated commercial broiler operation.
Technical Abstract: Clostridium perfringens has been shown to be widespread in the broiler chicken hatchery, grow-out, and processing operations. In a previous study, ribotypes of certain strains of C. perfringens isolated from processed chicken carcasses were shown to match ribotypes isolated from paper pad lining trays used to transport commercial chicks from the hatchery to the grow-out facility on the farm. These results suggest that C. perfringens contaminating the processed product could originate from facilities in the integrated poultry operation prior to grow out. In this study, samples were collected from the breeder farm, hatchery, previous grow-out flock, during grow out and after processing. In the first trial, C. perfringens was recovered from the breeder farms, the hatchery, previous grow-out flock, grow-out flock at 3 weeks of age, grow-out flock at 5 weeks of age, from processed carcasses, and from the breeder farm after processing in 4%, 30%, 4%, 0%, 2% and 16%, and 4% of the samples, respectively. In the second trial, the incidence of C. perfringens in samples collected from breeder farms, the hatchery, previous grow-out flock, grow- out flock at 3 weeks of age, grow-out flock at 5 weeks of age, and from processed carcasses was 38%, 30%, 32%, 8%, 4% and 8%, respectively. The genetic relatedness of the isolated strains as determined by ribotyping suggests that C. perfringens may be transmitted between facilities within the integrated broiler chicken operation.