Campylobacter presence on Dutch broiler farms and associated risk factors

E. Pacholewicz*, Anita Dame-Korevaar, M. van der Most, H.H. Ellen, M.H. Bokma-Bakker, M.G.J. Koene

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Campylobacter is the most reported zoonotic pathogen in humans in the European Union. Poultry is a major source of human infection with Campylobacter. Although many studies are done on the presence of Campylobacter in broilers and theoretically effective control measures are known, their relative importance at broiler farms remains poorly understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the presence of Campylobacter on selected broiler farms in the Netherlands, to determine the moment of introduction, and associated risk factors. A longitudinal study on 25 broiler farms was carried out between June 2017 and December 2020. Fecal samples were collected weekly from 43 broiler houses. In total 497 flocks were sampled. Putative variables on flock and farm characteristics for a risk factor analysis were gathered through questionnaires. Risk factors associated with the presence of Campylobacter in a broiler flock were determined using regression models. In total 30% of the flocks included in the study were positive for Campylobacter. Factors associated with presence of Campylobacter at slaughter age included: season, mowing lawns and presence of agricultural side activities. While summer/autumn and mowing lawns were associated with an increase in Campylobacter presence in flocks, the farmer having agricultural side activities other than poultry production was associated with a decrease. Analysis of the age at which flocks first tested Campylobacter positive revealed that slower growing breeds became positive on average 1 wk later compared to regular growers. This study revealed a delayed introduction of Campylobacter in slower grower vs. regular grower broiler flocks reared indoors. In addition, it confirmed importance of season as major risk factor. The relevance of mowing and preceding positive flocks as risk factors needs further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103568
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


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