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Multiple Typing for the Epidemiological Study of the Contamination of Broilers with Salmonella from the Hatchery to the Slaughterhouse

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Eighteen Belgian broiler flocks were followed from the hatchery to the slaughterhouse by a multiple typing approach (sero-, geno-, and phage types) for the investigation of the transmission of Salmonella and its subtypes. For 12 of the 18 flocks, there was no correlation between the serotypes found preharvest and those isolated from the feces in the transport crates and on the carcasses in the slaughterhouse. Serotypes found in the crates were usually also found on the carcasses. In 5 of the 10 flocks with Salmonella-positive broilers, complex contamination patterns with the involvement of different serotypes, genotypes, or both were revealed. In two of these flocks (flocks 8 and 9), the Salmonella Enteritidis contamination of the broilers could be traced to the hatchery. In flock 9, evidence was found for the acquisition, during rearing, of a megaplasmid in the Salmonella Enteritidis strain. In the other three positive flocks (flocks 6, 7, and 10), the environment and movable material (e.g., footwear) played a determining role in the infection and shedding pattern of the broilers. For flocks 6 and 7, reared consecutively in the same broiler house, a persistent Salmonella Hadar geno/phage type predominated in the preharvest period, while another Salmonella Hadar geno/phage type was found in the house or the environment but never in the broilers. Only for the above-mentioned five flocks were the same strains that were found preharvest also recovered from the carcasses, although these strains were not predominant on the carcasses, with the exception of one flock (flock 10). In conclusion, it can be said that most of the time, Salmonella strains that contaminate Belgian broiler carcasses do not predominate in the preharvest environment.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Ministry of the Flemish Community, Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Unit Technology & Food, Brusselsesteenweg 370, B-9090 Melle, Belgium 2: University Medical Center Sint-Pieter, Microbiology Department, Hoogstraat 322, 1000 Brussels, Belgium 3: Department of Human Ecology, Free University of Brussels, Laarbeeklaan 103, 1090 Brussels, Belgium 4: Pasteur Institute of Brussels, Phage Typing Service, Engelandstraat 642, 1180 Brussels, Belgium 5: Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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