Occurrence of Campylobacter spp. in cecal contents among commercial broilers in Iceland

N. J. Stern*, J. Reiersen, R. Lowman, J. R. Bisaillon, V. Fridriksdottir, E. Gunnarsson, K. L. Hiett, Haraldur Briem, Franklin Georgsson, Hjördís Haroardóttir, Karl Kristinsson, Eva Berndtson, Victoria Edge, Aamir Fazil, Pascal Michel, Greg Paoli, Ken Callicott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Campylobacter jejuni remains the most frequently reported bacterial cause of human gastroenteritis in Nordic countries. The primary source of transmission to humans is suggested as mishandled raw poultry or consuming improperly prepared chicken. The focus of this report was to characterize the prevalence and cell numbers of the organism within the commercial Icelandic poultry industry. Commercial broiler flocks were sampled from May 2001 through 2003 in a total population study. At the slaughter plant, 40 randomly selected ceca were obtained from each flock, pooled into four samples containing 10 ceca each, and analyzed. Cell numbers and prevalence of Campylobacter spp. were estimated by direct plating of dilutions onto Campy-Cefex agar and incubating the plates at 42°C under microaerobic atmosphere; colonies were confirmed as Campylobacter spp. by microscopy and latex agglutination to provide quantification of cell numbers per gm of cecal material. A total of 15.4% of the flocks carried the organism at at a maximum cell number of 8.1 × 107 cfu/g, having a mean raw count of colonized birds at 1.3 × 107 cfu/g (geometric mean of 1.5 × 106). During the 3 years of sampling, the prevalence ranged from 17.6% to 17.3% to 12.7% for slaughter years 2001, 2002, and 2003, respectively. Isolation rates varied with numbers of catch lots (groups of birds taken for slaughter)/flock; with one catch lot/flock, the prevalence was 13.7%, with two 17.5%, and with three 33.3%. With increased flock size, isolation rates also increased; flocks of greater than 5,000 birds had a prevalence of 12.0% positive, 14.0% of flocks with 5,000-10,000 birds were positive, and 25.5% of flocks with more than 10,000 birds were positive for Campylobacter spp. Isolation rates varied with the processing lines: M was positive at 17.3%, B was positive at 10.1%, and G at 17.2%. Flocks were more frequently colonized in the warmer months, and younger birds were less frequently colonized than were older slaughtered birds. This study provides descriptive microbiology pertaining to Iceland broilers in a total population study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-89
Number of pages8
JournalFoodborne Pathogens and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


Dive into the research topics of 'Occurrence of Campylobacter spp. in cecal contents among commercial broilers in Iceland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this