Research – Campylobacter jejuni in Poultry: Pathogenesis and Control Strategies


C. jejuni is the leading cause of human foodborne illness associated with poultry, beef, and pork consumption. C. jejuni is highly prevalent in commercial poultry farms, where horizontal transmission from the environment is considered to be the primary source of C. jejuni. As an enteric pathogen, C. jejuni expresses virulence factors regulated by a two-component system that mediates C. jejuni’s ability to survive in the host. C. jejuni survives and reproduces in the avian intestinal mucus. The avian intestinal mucus is highly sulfated and sialylated compared with the human mucus modulating C. jejuni pathogenicity into a near commensal bacteria in poultry. Birds are usually infected from two to four weeks of age and remain colonized until they reach market age. A small dose of C. jejuni (around 35 CFU/mL) is sufficient for successful bird colonization. In the U.S., where chickens are raised under antibiotic-free environments, additional strategies are required to reduce C. jejuni prevalence on broilers farms. Strict biosecurity measures can decrease C. jejuni prevalence by more than 50% in broilers at market age. Vaccination and probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, organic acids, bacteriophages, bacteriocins, and quorum sensing inhibitors supplementation can improve gut health and competitively exclude C. jejuni load in broilers. Most of the mentioned strategies showed promising results; however, they are not fully implemented in poultry production. Current knowledge on C. jejuni’s morphology, source of transmission, pathogenesis in poultry, and available preharvest strategies to decrease C. jejuni colonization in broilers are addressed in this review

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