Enhanced biosecurity measures may contribute to the reduction of Campylobacter incidence in slaughterhouses
As a preventive measure, biosecurity is the first line of defense against many pathogens. Applied biosecurity measures can reduce the prevalence of Campylobacter infection in commercial broiler populations. A systematic evaluation, encompassing at least annual monitoring of applied biosecurity measures and on-farm prevalence of Campylobacter infection is highly recommended.
This study was performed on three broiler farms with the aim to assess the effectiveness of the biosecurity measures applied. Broiler farms included in the study previously had problems with Campylobacter infections, and therefore, after the intervention through a risk-based scoring system and bacteriological testing of samples from the farm and the corresponding carcasses in the slaughterhouse, several biosecurity measures were implemented. Obtained results showed that after the intervention, farms increased their external biosecurity by 16.34%, internal biosecurity by 22%, and overall biosecurity by 18.34%. The major interventions concerned the removal of manure and carcasses, all improved measures taken for feed and drinking water, and measures in the subcategory of cleaning and disinfection protocols carried out between two production cycles. After the improvements, during the screening process on the farms, Campylobacter was not isolated from pooled fecal samples in any of the broiler houses. This indicates that at least six houses (two houses per farm) were Campylobacter-negative at broiler slaughter age. In pooled neck skin samples originating from studied farms, Campylobacter was not isolated after the improved measures were implemented.
The results showed that the assessment of biosecurity protocols on broiler farms is a useful tool, and Campylobacter can serve as a biomarker for the efficiency of the implemented biosecurity protocols.