a1 Centre for Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Surrey, UK
a2 Department of Bacteriology, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Surrey, UK
During 2007–2009 a UK-wide, 3-year stratified randomized survey of UK chicken broiler flocks was conducted to estimate the prevalence of Campylobacter-infected batches of birds at slaughter. Thirty-seven abattoirs, processing 88·3% of the total UK slaughter throughput, were recruited at the beginning of the survey. Of the 1174 slaughter batches sampled, 79·2% were found to be colonized with Campylobacter, the majority of isolates being C. jejuni. Previous partial depopulation of the flock [odds ratio (OR) 5·21], slaughter in the summer months (categorized as June, July and August; OR 14·27) or autumn months (categorized as September, October and November; OR 1·70) increasing bird age (40–41 days, OR 3·18; 42–45 days, OR 3·56; ≥46 days, OR 13·43) and higher recent mortality level in the flock (1·00–1·49% mortality, OR 1·57; ≥1·49% mortality, OR 2·74) were all identified as significant risk factors for Campylobacter colonization of the birds at slaughter. Time in transit to the slaughterhouse of more than 2·5 h was identified as a protective factor (OR 0·52).
(Received October 14 2011)
(Revised March 23 2012)
(Accepted April 23 2012)
(Online publication May 28 2012)