Thermophilic Campylobacter spp. in Danish broiler production: a cross-sectional survey and a retrospective analysis of risk factors for occurrence in broiler flocks

Avian Pathol. 2000 Apr;29(2):123-31. doi: 10.1080/03079450094153.


In order to elucidate the rate of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. carriage in Danish broiler production and to identify risk factors for occurrence of campylobacter in broiler flocks, a total of 88 randomly selected broiler flocks were tested for campylobacter infection, and a subsequent study of risk factors based on a questionnaire was conducted. The sample material comprised cloacal swabs from live birds before slaughter, and neck skin samples from carcasses at the end of the processing line. A total of 52% of the flocks were found Campylobacter spp.-positive before slaughter. At the end of processing, 24% of the flocks were positive. The species distribution was 87% Campylobacter jejuni, 8% Campylobacter coli and 5% Campylobacter lari. The following parameters were identified as significant risk factors: lack of a hygiene barrier (odds ratio (OR) = 3.1, 1.1 < OR < 9.3), presence of animals in the vicinity of the broiler house on farms with a missing hygiene barrier (OR = 7.0, 1.6 < OR < 33.9), livestock other than chickens on farms with a missing hygiene barrier (OR = 7.6, 1.4 < OR < 44.9), dividing the flock into batches for staggered slaughter (OR = 6.8, 1.2 < OR < 49.3), a down period of less than 14 days (OR = 5.0, 1.2 < OR < 22.6), and feeding purchased wheat rather than home-grown wheat (OR = 3.1, 1.0 <OR < 9.9). The presence of a hygiene barrier was found to be the single most important biosecurity measure for production of campylobacter-free broilers.