Epidemiology and Infection


Campylobacter spp. in Icelandic poultry operations and human disease


N. J. STERN a1c1, K. L. HIETT a1, G. A. ALFREDSSON a2, K. G. KRISTINSSON a2a3, J. REIERSEN a4, H. HARDARDOTTIR a3, H. BRIEM a5, E. GUNNARSSON a6, F. GEORGSSON a7, R. LOWMAN a8, E. BERNDTSON a9, A. M. LAMMERDING a10, G. M. PAOLI a11 and M. T. MUSGROVE a1
a1 USDA-Agricultural Research Service; Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit, 950 College Station Rd., Athens, GA, USA 30604-5677
a2 University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
a3 Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland
a4 Chief Veterinary Office, Reykjavik, Iceland
a5 Directorate of Health, Reykjavik, Iceland
a6 Institute of Experimental Pathology, Reykjavik, Iceland
a7 Environmental and Food Agency of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
a8 Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
a9 Swe-Chick, Hyllinge, Sweden
a10 Health Canada, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
a11 Decisionalysis Risk Consultants, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Abstract

We describe the observed relationship of campylobacter in poultry operations to human cases in a closed environment. During 1999 in Iceland, domestic cases of campylobacteriosis reached peak levels at 116/100 000 and in 2000 dropped to 33/100 000. Approximately 62% of broiler carcass rinses were contaminated with Campylobacter spp. in 1999. During 2000, only 15% of the broiler flocks tested Campylobacter spp. positive. In 2000, carcasses from flocks which tested positive on the farms at 4 weeks of age were subsequently frozen prior to distribution. We suggest that public education, enhanced on-farm biological security measures, carcass freezing and other unidentified factors, such as variations in weather, contributed to the large reduction in poultry-borne campylobacteriosis. There is no immediate basis for assigning credit to any specific intervention. We continue to seek additional information to understand the decline in campylobacteriosis and to create a risk assessment model for Campylobacter spp. transmission through this well defined system.

(Accepted August 28 2002)


Correspondence:
c1 Author for correspondence.


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