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J Hyg (Lond). 1986 Apr;96(2):153-9.

Campylobacter jejuni in broilers: the role of vertical transmission.


The role of broiler eggs in the transmission of Campylobacter jejuni to broiler grow-out flocks was investigated. Six breeder flocks supplying broiler eggs to hatcheries were examined for cloacal carriage of C. jejuni. Of 240 birds tested, 178 (74%) were C. jejuni-positive. Eggs from these birds examined for C. jejuni penetration of the egg shell indicated that 185 of 187 were campylobacter-free. Eggs from breeder flocks of unknown C. jejuni status were also examined for C. jejuni shell penetration. C. jejuni was not isolated from 142 eggs examined. A further 193 hatchery eggs incubated and hatched in the laboratory were campylobacter-free. Six farms containing the progeny of C. jejuni-positive breeder flocks were monitored. Eight hundred and forty birds from 14 flocks in these grow-out farms were campylobacter-free during their 6-week grow-out period. Experimental egg-penetration studies indicated that C. jejuni transmission via the egg is not easily effected. Of 257 eggs surface-challenged with C. jejuni, 162 hatched; all were campylobacter-free. Of 167 eggs injected with C. jejuni, 12 hatched; 2 of these were colonized with C. jejuni. Our data do not support a role for vertical transmission of C. jejuni in commercial broiler production.

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