Transmission routes of Campylobacter spp. in broilers and possibilities for prevention of infections were studied on two Dutch broiler farms. The occurrence of Campylobacter spp. was studied in successive broiler flocks, in the environment of the farms and in some of the parent flocks involved. Isolates of Campylobacter spp. were typed by using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis. The results indicate that broiler flocks become infected from environmental sources. The typing results suggest that on one farm transmission of Campylobacter spp. occurred from cattle to broilers via the farmer's footwear. After several campylobacter positive broiler cycles hygiene measures, including thorough cleaning and disinfection procedures, change of footwear at the entrance of each broiler house, control of vermin and other hygienic precautions, were introduced on both farms in order to prevent transmission of Campylobacter spp. from the farm environment to the broilers. The results indicate that the application of hygiene measures significantly reduced campylobacter infections of broiler flocks on both farms.
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