Assessing Interventions to Reduce the Risk of Campylobacter Prevalence in Broilers
As part of a comprehensive risk assessment on the Campylobacter prevalence in the chicken production chain (from young born chicken till chicken fillet) in the Netherlands, we formulated a quantitative model on the transmission dynamics of Campylobacter at Dutch broiler farms. This model is used to quantify the risk of Campylobacter prevalence in broilers at the time that flocks leave the farm for processing. To this end, we assumed that the Campylobacter prevalence is primarily determined by two parameters, that is, the within- and between-flock transmission. The within-flock transmission was assessed fitting experimental data to a logistic growth model and the between-flock transmission was assessed fitting field data to a generalized linear model (GLM), which included three possible infection routes: (1) via an infected flock in the previous cycle, (2) via other infected flocks present on the farm, and (3) from other sources. This model was applied to assess the efficacy of three control scenarios; (1) a ban on other livestock on broiler farms, (2) a ban on thinning, and (3) a reduction of the between-flock transmission. In contrast to the other scenarios, the third one was shown to be most effective. Theoretically, this is accomplished by improved biosecurity. However, the impact of improved biosecurity cannot be specified into specific control measures, and therefore it is not clear what investments are needed. Finally, we also assessed the efficacy of scheduled treatment, that is, fresh meat production solely from test-negative flocks. We found that the reliability of negative test results, which is crucial, strongly depends on the length of time between testing and slaughter. The sensitivity and specificity of the test appeared to be of minor importance.