Review of Biosecurity-Based Interventions and Strategies to Reduce Campylobacter on the Poultry Farm

Enhanced biosecurity on conventional broiler farms should contribute to the reduction of flock colonisation but a major international review concludes that complementary approaches are also needed to minimise Campylobacter-positive flocks at the farm level.
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The prevention and control of Campylobacter colonisation of poultry flocks is an important public health strategy in the control of human campylobacteriosis. A critical review of the literature on interventions to control Campylobacter in poultry on farms has been undertaken using a systematic approach, report D.G. Newell from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Addlestone, UK, and a multinational group of researchers in a paper published in the journal, Applied Environmental Microbiology.

The authors explain that although the focus of the review was on aspects appropriate to the UK poultry industry, the research reviewed was gathered from worldwide literature. Multiple electronic databases were employed to search literature, in any language, from 1980 to September 2008.

A primary set of 4,316 references was identified and scanned, using specific agreed-upon criteria, to select relevant references related to biosecurity-based interventions. The final library comprised 173 references.

Identification of the sources of Campylobacter in poultry flocks was required to inform the development of targeted interventions to disrupt transmission routes. The approach used generally involved risk factor-based surveys related to culture-positive or -negative flocks, usually combined with a structured questionnaire. In addition, some studies, either in combination or independently, undertook intervention trials.

Many of these studies were compromised by poor design, sampling and statistical analysis, according to Dr Newell and her co-authors. They critically reviewed the evidence for each potential source and route of transmission on the poultry farm and the options for intervention considered.

The reviewers concluded that, in most instances, biosecurity on conventional broiler farms can be enhanced and that this should contribute to the reduction of flock colonisation. However, Newell and co-authors stressed that complementary, non-biosecurity-based approaches will also be required in the future to maximise the reduction of Campylobacter-positive flocks at the farm level.


Newell, D.G., K.T. Elvers, D. Dofper, I. Hansson, P. Jones, S. James, J. Gittins, N. J. Stern, R. Davies, I. Connerton, D. Pearson, G. Salvat and V.M. Allen. 2011. A critical review of biosecurity-based interventions and strategies to reduce Campylobacter on the poultry farm. Applied Environmental Microbiology. published online ahead of print on 7 October 2011. doi:10.1128/AEM.01090-10

Further Reading

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October 2011
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