Transmission Routes For The Bacterium Campylobacter

NORWAY - Campylobacter is the most frequently reported human bacterial enteric pathogen, in Norway as well as in other countries and the number of diseased has been continuously increasing during the last 15 years writes Gro Johnsen, National Veterinary Institute.
calendar icon 28 December 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Consumption of poultry meat purchased raw, for instance broiler fillet, is regarded as a risk factor for acquiring the disease. Campylobacter is decimated through food production, but the bacterium is readily transmitted to salad and other ready-to-eat foods due to poor kitchen hygiene and cross contamination from contaminated utensils, Johnsen says.

Surprising results
Johnsen has studied the transmission routes for Campylobacter, from environment on to live broilers at farm, and cross contamination in the slaughterhouse. She found extensive presence of Campylobacter on the courtyards, and that infected drinking water and lacking hygienic routines caused infection of the broilers.

- A surprising finding was the high prevalence of Campylobacter in surface water in the vicinity of the broiler farms, Johnsen tells. It is well known that the bacterium can be isolated from water, but that it can be so commonly found is worrying.

Johnsen also found that the carcasses and the slaughterhouse environment, including the air, were considerably contaminated during the slaughtering of infected flocks.

To prevent Campylobacter infecting the live poultry at farm, proper hygienic barriers and clean disinfected drinking water are important. During slaughter, measures have to be implemented to prevent the transmission of Campylobacter to clean carcasses, to the slaughterhouse workers and to prevent infected retail products to be distributed.

Gro Johnsen has a Master degree in microbiology from the University of Bergen. She has worked as a research scientist at Norconserv in Stavanger, and was laboratory leader at the Food Safety Authority in Midt-Rogaland for 10 years. She is now a research fellow at the National Veterinary Institute. The 10 November 2006 she defended her thesis; Campylobacter in Norwegian poultry production – molecular epidemiological aspects, and obtained the PhD degree at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science.

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