Projecten per jaar
Campylobacteriosis is the most reported foodborne gastroenteritic disease and poses a serious health burden in industrialized countries. Disease in humans is mainly caused by the zoonotic pathogen Campylobacter jejuni. Due to its wide-spread occurrence in the environment, the epidemiology of Campylobacter remains poorly understood. It is generally accepted, however, that chickens are a natural host for Campylobacter jejuni, and for Campylobacter spp. in general, and that colonized broiler chicks are the primary vector for transmitting this pathogen to humans. Several potential sources and vectors for transmitting C. jejuni to broiler flocks have been identified. Initially, one or a few broilers can become colonized at an age of >2 weeks until the end of rearing, after which the infection will rapidly spread throughout the entire flock. Such a flock is generally colonized until slaughter and infected birds carry a very high C. jejuni load in their gastrointestinal tract, especially the ceca. This eventually results in contaminated carcasses during processing, which can transmit this pathogen to humans. Recent genetic typing studies showed that chicken isolates can frequently be linked to human clinical cases of Campylobacter enteritis. However, despite the increasing evidence that the chicken reservoir is the number one risk factor for disease in humans, no effective strategy exists to reduce Campylobachter prevalence in poultry flocks, which can in part be explained by the incomplete understanding of the epidemiology of C. jejuni in broiler flocks. As a result, the number of human campylobacteriosis cases associated with the chicken vector remains strikingly high.