Risk Factors for Campylobacter Infection in Danish Broiler Chickens

Fourteen per cent of the more than 2,800 flocks surveyed were positive for Campylobacter in a new study from Denmark. Factors most likely to bring a positive result were season (summer months) and when more than one person entered the broiler house. Also increasing the risk were a positive result in the previous flock, older buildings and a longer growing period.
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Data from the Quality Assurance System in Danish Broiler Production (KIK system) were analysed by S. Chowdhury of the National Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark and co-authors there and at the Danish Agriculture and Food Council to identify within farm biosecurity- and management-related risk factors for Campylobacter infection in Danish broiler flocks.

In the study published recently in Poultry Science, data from 2,835 flocks originating from 187 farms in the time period of December 2009 to November 2010 were included.

The PCR test results of faecal samples collected on socks revealed that 14 per cent of the Danish broiler flocks were positive to Campylobacter during the study period.

Of the positive flocks, 55 per cent were positive during summer time and the positive flocks during summer time were related to areas where clustering of infected farms was identified in previous conducted studies.

The median number of people working in or entering broiler houses was two (range: one to seven).

The median slaughter age of Danish broiler flocks was 35 days (range: 31 to 61 days).

A multivariable logistic regression model with a random effect of farm was performed. The analysis revealed that flocks had a higher risk of acquiring positive infection status during summer time (odds ratio = 12.59; 95 per cent CI: 6.79–23.36) and when more than one person entered the broiler house (odds ratio = 2.03; 95 per cent CI: 1.19–3.84).

Furthermore, there was a higher risk of a positive infection status if the test result of the farm for the previous flock was positive (odds ratio = 1.80; 95 per cent CI: 1.22–2.63), if the broiler houses were built before and during 1990 (odds ratio = 1.60; 95 per cent CI: 1.17–2.18) and if the average slaughter age of the birds was more than 35 days (odds ratio = 1.33; 95 per cent CI: 1.02–1.76).


Chowdhury S., M. Sandberg, G.E. Themudo and A.K. Ersbøll. 2012. Risk factors for Campylobacter infection in Danish broiler chickens. Poult. Sci., 91(10):2701-2709. doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02412

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December 2012
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