Epidemiology of Campylobacter in poultry

W. Jacobs - Reitsma

Research output: Thesisexternal PhD, WU


Campylobacter , causing human infections with severe symptoms of diarrhoea, is mainly transmitted by food, especially poultry meat products.

Several studies on Campylobacter colonization in breeders, laying hens, and broilers were carried out. Campylobacter isolates were serotyped, using a modification of the Penner system, in order to identify epidemiological factors contributing to the Campylobacter colonization of poultry. No evidence was found for vertical transmission from breeder flocks via the hatchery to progeny, nor for a horizontal transmission from one broiler flock to the next via a persistent house-contamination. By far the major route for Campylobacter contamination of poultry is a horizontal transmission from the environment. Pigs and poultry flocks (broilers, as well as laying hens and breeders), and to a lesser extent, sheep and cattle were found to be potential sources of Campylobacter contamination. Horizontal intervention procedures at the farm level have to be studied further to evaluate the effectiveness of strict hygienic practices during the whole production period.

A screening for antibiotic resistance revealed 181 out of 617 Campylobacter isolates (29%), originating from a large number of broiler flocks, to be quinolone-resistant. Quinolone treatment of Campylobacter colonized broiler chicks was found to induce quinolone resistance in the Campylobacter bacteria under experimental conditions. Therefore, quinolone treatment should not be seen as an answer to the problem of eradication of Campylobacter contamination from poultry flocks.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Rombouts, F.M., Promotor, External person
  • Mulder, R.W.A.W., Co-promotor, External person
Award date10 Oct 1994
Place of PublicationBeekbergen
Print ISBNs9789071463723
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 1994


  • veterinary science
  • poultry
  • fowls
  • epidemics
  • epidemiology
  • food poisoning
  • campylobacter


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