Rapid monitoring of Campylobacter in high-shedding flocks for targeted disease control.

Research paper by T T Pölzler, M M Wagner, J J Slaghuis, C C Schleicher, J J Köfer

Indexed on: 10 Oct '12Published on: 10 Oct '12Published in: Journal of food protection


Broilers excreting Campylobacter spp. at high levels (>7 log CFU/g of feces) were described in the Dutch Campylobacter Risk Management and Assessment project as an important source of carcass contamination. The researchers concluded that the risk of infection to humans could be economically and efficiently minimized by eliminating these flocks from fresh poultry meat chains. In the present study, we evaluated a simple and rapid gold-labeled immunosorbent assay (GLISA) for the identification of Campylobacter spp. in flocks shedding high levels of the pathogen. Results were obtained within 2 h. Pooled samples from 102 of the 114 Campylobacter-positive flocks produced positive results, resulting in a test sensitivity of 89.5% (95% confidence interval, 82.6 to 94.2%) and a test specificity of 94.5% (86.7 to 98.2%). Given a GLISA detection limit of 7.3 log CFU/g of feces, nearly all Campylobacter-positive flocks were identified as "high shedders." Therefore, reduction of the incidence of Campylobacter infections by elimination of high-shedding flocks from fresh meat production is an unrealistic approach. Under the constraints given, a reduction in the incidence of Campylobacter spp. in Austria will require either improved hygiene or an intensive carcass decontamination strategy in fresh meat production facilities.