Research – Prevalence and levels of Campylobacter in broiler chicken batches and carcasses in Ireland in 2017–2018

Science Direct


Provides valuable qualitative and quantitative data on Campylobacter in Irish Broilers.

Study demonstrates improvements and progress made in the Irish poultry industry.

Study provides indications of several factors on Campylobacter contamination rates.


In 2008, an EU wide baseline survey of broilers revealed a high Campylobacter prevalence. To assist with industry-wide controls, updated data were required. The primary objective of this study was to establish up-to-date data on Campylobacter carriage and carcass contamination in Irish broilers. Monthly samples were collected from the three largest broiler processing plants in Ireland over a twelve-month period. Samples were taken from both first and final thin birds (partial and full depopulation) from 358 batches of broilers. From each batch, a composite sample of 10 caecal contents (n = 358) and 5 neck skins (n = 1790) were collected and numbers of Campylobacter in each sample were determined. Of the 1790 neck skin samples tested, 53% were Campylobacter positive. Campylobacter was detected in the caecal contents of 66% of all batches tested. Depopulation and/or age had a significant effect on Campylobacter prevalence with 67% of final thin broilers yielding Campylobacter-positive neck skin samples in contrast to 38% of first thin broilers that yielded positive neck skin samples (P ≤ 0.002). A significant seasonal variation was observed in the rate of Campylobacter-positive caecal samples with higher prevalence seen in July (85%) than the colder months of November (61%), December (50%), January (61%) March (57%) and April (59%). Neck skin samples were 7 times more likely to be Campylobacter positive if the caecal contents from the same batch were positive (odds ratio = 7.1; P ≤ 0.0001). The decrease in Campylobacter prevalence observed in neck skin and caecal contents demonstrates the improvements and progress made in reducing prevalences of this important enteropathogen in the Irish poultry industry since the 2008 EU baseline survey. It also provides further supporting data on the impact of thinning, the processing environment and season on Campylobacter prevalence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s