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Sources and spread of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. during partial depopulation of broiler chicken flocks

Allen, V. M., Weaver, H., Ridley, A. M., Harris, J. A., Sharma, M., Emery, J., Sparks, N., Lewis, M. and Edge, S. (2008) Sources and spread of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. during partial depopulation of broiler chicken flocks. Journal of Food Protection, 71 (2). pp. 264-270. ISSN 0362-028X

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The practice of partial depopulation or ‘thinning’, i.e. early removal of a proportion of birds from a commercial broiler flock, is a reported risk factor for Campylobacter colonization of residual birds because of the difficulty in maintaining biosecurity during the process. Therefore, the effect of this practice was studied in detail for 51 target flocks, each at a different growing farm belonging to one of seven major poultry companies throughout the United Kingdom. On 21 of these farms, the target flock was already colonized by Campylobacter and at slaughter all cecal samples examined were positive, with a mean of log10 8 cfu / g. A further 27 flocks became positive within 2 – 6 days of the start of thinning and had similarly high levels of cecal carriage at slaughter. Just prior to the thinning process, Campylobacter could be isolated frequently from the farm driveways, transport vehicles, equipment and personnel. Strains from seven such farms on which flocks became colonized after thinning were examined by PFGE typing. The study demonstrated an association between strains occurring at specific sampling sites and those isolated subsequently from the thinned flocks. There were also indications that particular strains had spread from one farm to another, when the farms were jointly company-owned and served by the same bird-catching teams and / or vehicles. The results highlighted the need for better hygiene control in relation to catching equipment and personnel, and more effective cleaning and disinfection of vehicles, and bird-transport crates.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
ID Code:33325
Publisher:International Association for Food Protection

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