Study Examines Campy Risk in Poultry Plant Workers

US - Conducting a study of Campylobacter illness in poultry plant workers, researchers found that infections were most likely in new employees and those who worked in the live hang areas. They suggested ways for processing facility managers to reduce the infection risks.
calendar icon 14 January 2013
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In the journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Marie A. de Perio of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Cincinnati, Ohio, and colleagues there and at Virginia Department of Health, Richmond in Virginia have reported their evaluation of health hazards at a poultry processing plant.

Between 2008 and 2011, they investigated a total of 29 cases of laboratory-diagnosed Campylobacter infection among workers at the facility.

Most infected employees had worked at the plant for less than one month, worked in the live-hanging area and lived at a state-operated centre.

On the basis of their findings, de Perio and co-authors recommended that plant management strengthen efforts to reduce Campylobacter contamination, particularly in the live-hang area. Efforts should incorporate engineering controls, such as improved sanitation, ventilation system modifications and installation of hands-free soap dispensers and waste receptacles.

They also stressed the need for employee training (in English and Spanish) and compliance with plant policies related to hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment to be improved, especially among temporary employees. Poultry processing plants should regularly review their illness records and work with local health departments to ensure that all cases and outbreaks of Campylobacter infection are reported, the researchers added.


de Perio M.A., Niemeier R.T., Levine S.J., Gruszynski K. and Gibbins J.D. 2013. Campylobacter infection in poultry-processing workers, Virginia, USA, 2008–2011. Emerg. Infect. Dis. [Internet] 2013 Feb.

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