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Investigation of prevalence and risk factors for Campylobacter in broiler flocks at slaughter: results from a UK survey

  • J. R. LAWES (a1), A. VIDAL (a2), F. A. CLIFTON-HADLEY (a2), R. SAYERS (a1), J. RODGERS (a2), L. SNOW (a1), S. J. EVANS (a1) and L. F. POWELL (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 28 May 2012

During 2007–2009 a UK-wide, 3-year stratified randomized survey of UK chicken broiler flocks was conducted to estimate the prevalence of Campylobacter-infected batches of birds at slaughter. Thirty-seven abattoirs, processing 88·3% of the total UK slaughter throughput, were recruited at the beginning of the survey. Of the 1174 slaughter batches sampled, 79·2% were found to be colonized with Campylobacter, the majority of isolates being C. jejuni. Previous partial depopulation of the flock [odds ratio (OR) 5·21], slaughter in the summer months (categorized as June, July and August; OR 14·27) or autumn months (categorized as September, October and November; OR 1·70) increasing bird age (40–41 days, OR 3·18; 42–45 days, OR 3·56; ⩾46 days, OR 13·43) and higher recent mortality level in the flock (1·00–1·49% mortality, OR 1·57; ⩾1·49% mortality, OR 2·74) were all identified as significant risk factors for Campylobacter colonization of the birds at slaughter. Time in transit to the slaughterhouse of more than 2·5 h was identified as a protective factor (OR 0·52).

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Miss J. R. Lawes, CERA, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Woodham Lane, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK. (Email:
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