An extensive epidemiological study was performed to determine the prevalence and risk factors of Campylobacter infection in broiler farms in Andalusia (southern Spain). A total of 2221 cloacal swabs and 747 environmental swabs from 291 broiler flocks were screened between April 2010 and May 2012. The prevalence of Campylobacter in individual animals was 38.1%, and the flock prevalence was 62.9%. Flocks were predominantly infected by C. jejuni and C. coli but were also infected by untyped Campylobacter spp., and mixed-species infection could be found. Risk factors for Campylobacter infection were assessed from direct interview of the farmers. The number of positive samples by flock was modelled assuming a binomial distribution. Analysis indicated five factors associated with increased intra-flock prevalence: presence of dogs or cats on the farm, older age of the broiler flock, the application of thinning of flocks, the presence of windows with canvas blinds, and the presence of rodents in the poultry house. Two factors were associated with decreased intra-flock prevalence: the treatment of drinking water and having an entrance room for access into the poultry house. This is the first study performed on broilers farms from Spain reporting the risk factors of Campylobacter infection and is the largest study on the prevalence of Campylobacter infection.
Keywords: Broilers; Campylobacter; Prevalence; Risk factors; Spain.
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