Foodborne disease prevention and broiler chickens with reduced campylobacter infection

Studies have suggested that flies play a linking role in the epidemiology of Campylobacter spp. in broiler chickens and that fly screens can reduce the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. We examined the year-round and long-term effects of fly screens in 10 broiler chicken houses (99 flocks) in Denmark. Prevalence of Campylobacter spp.–positive flocks was significantly reduced, from 41.4% during 2003–2005 (before fly screens) to 10.3% in 2006–2009 (with fly screens). In fly screen houses, Campylobacter spp. prevalence did not peak during the summer. Nationally, prevalence of Campylobacter spp.–positive flocks in Denmark could have been reduced by an estimated 77% during summer had fly screens been part of biosecurity practices. These results imply that fly screens might help reduce prevalence of campylobacteriosis among humans, which is closely linked to Campylobacter spp. prevalence among broiler chicken flocks.

Campylobacter spp. is the most common cause of enteritis in humans in the European Union; 190,566 cases were reported in 2008. However, it has been estimated that only 2.1% of all cases are reported and that in the European Union the true incidence of campylobacteriosis is ≈9 million cases per year. From 2008 through 2009, the number of human infections in the European Union increased 4%, although there was no statistically significant trend from 2005 through 2009. The incidence of campylobacteriosis seems to differ among European countries. In addition, campylobacteriosis and its sequelae are calculated to cost 0.35 million disability-adjusted life-years per year, totaling €2.4 billion per year.

Emerging Infectious Diseases
March 19, 2013

Original web page at Emerging Infectious Diseases