Are happy chickens safe chickens? One researcher believes so, outlining a possible role of bird stress on the number of campylobacter positive flocks.
Speaking at the recent 2006 World Poultry Science Association meeting in York, Tom Humphrey of the University of Bristol revealed new results that show the incidence of campylobacter had fallen from 76% in 1993 to 20% in 2005.
Prof Humphrey believes this reduction is mainly through attention to detail and improved biosecurity, but many questions remain, including why does it peak in summer?
The reason for the peak is unclear and Prof Humphrey questioned whether it was due to stress of higher temperatures or greater airflow bringing more infected flies into the shed.
He then outlined evidence that increased stress gives the pathogen a helping hand in infecting the bird, including Irish research showing a six-fold increase in campylobacter in chickens after transport to the abattoir.
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Author: Richard Allison