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Campylobacter in circulating broiler blood documented

The presence of Campylobacter in the circulating blood of market-age broilers may increase the likelihood of cross-contamination between birds during slaughter, say US investigators.

Broilers in their study were acquired from 19 flocks from three commercial poultry processing companies. Using aseptic blood collection techniques, they collected 5 ml of circulating blood from each bird and analyzed the sample for Campylobacter. The Campylobacter colonization status of each bird was determined by aseptically sampling and analyzing the ceca, say L. J. Richardson, of the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Athens, Georgia, and colleagues.

The investigators recovered Campylobacter — a common cause of bacterial food poisoning in people — from 58% (11/19) of flocks sampled. Of the 248 total birds sampled, 12% and 46% had Campylobacter in the blood and ceca, respectively.

Campylobacter spp. are present in organs and tissues of broiler chickens but the dissemination route is unclear. This study documents the presence of Campylobacter in the circulating blood of commercially raised broilers, which may indicate the path used by the organism for rapid dissemination to organs and tissues, they say in the September 2011 issue of Avian Diseases.

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