Reduction of Campylobacter in broiler flocks: identification of risk factors, evaluation of increased biosecurity measures and the protective effect of the microbiota of Campylobacter free flocks [CAMPREVENT]

Last updated on 13-2-2019 by Daisy Tysmans
January 15, 2018
January 15, 2021

Service(s) working on this project

Sciensano's project investigator(s):


Marc Heyndrickx
Geertrui Rasschaert
Karolien Hertogs
Jeroen Dewulf
Lieven De Zutter
Philippe Gelaude

In short

Campylobacter (C. jejuni and C. coli) is the main bacterial causeof intestinal infections in people in the industrialized world. It is estimated that 50 — 80% of these infections are linked to poultry, either by the preparation and consumption of undercooked chicken meat or by direct contact with poultry and the farm environment. Research indicates that only increased biosecurity measures have a real impact on the presence of Campylobacter at the farm. These measures are directed towards preventing any possible case of contamination, which is not easy because of the low infectious dose. A number of risk factors for the introduction of Campylobacter into broiler farms are described in the scientific literature. In this project, we examine which of these are the most important for Belgian operations.

Project summary

The aim of CAMPREVENT is to assess risk factors for the introduction of Campylobacter into broiler farms that have already been described in the literature on Belgian farms in order to obtain an accurate picture of the most important factors.

We are developing a molecular-epidemiological study to this end in which 60 focks (originating from 15 farms) are monitored by taking weekly samples from the chickens and possible elements that constitute a risk factor. We do this until the chickens become Campylobacter-positive or until they have reached the age for slaughter. This should result in an initial step towards a biosecurity protocol including the risk factors on which the poultry farmers can focus in order to reduce the chance of Campylobacterbeing introduced. This protocol will then be implemented in the same farms to evaluate its effectiveness. To this end, we will take new samples as described above. Based on the results obtained, the biosecurity protocol will be adapted to produce a protocol that can be applied in an efficient and practical way. This document will be communicated to the broiler sector to help them prevent Campylobacter contamination on their farms.

In CAMPREVENT, we will also analyze and compare the bacterial composition of the microbiota of Campylobacter-free animals and animals that have become positive by means of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS). This could lead in later research to targeted intervention in the composition of the microbiota through the administration of probiotics or tailored feeds.

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