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A role for flies (Diptera) in the transmission of Campylobacter to broilers?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stephen Rushton



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2016 Cambridge University Press. Campylobacter is the leading cause of bacterial diarrhoeal disease worldwide, with raw and undercooked poultry meat and products the primary source of infection. Colonization of broiler chicken flocks with Campylobacter has proved difficult to prevent, even with high levels of biosecurity. Dipteran flies are proven carriers of Campylobacter and their ingress into broiler houses may contribute to its transmission to broiler chickens. However, this has not been investigated in the UK. Campylobacter was cultured from 2195 flies collected from four UK broiler farms. Of flies cultured individually, 0·22% [2/902, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0-0·53] were positive by culture for Campylobacter spp. Additionally, 1293 flies were grouped by family and cultured in 127 batches: 4/127 (3·15%, 95% CI 0·11-6·19) from three broiler farms were positive for Campylobacter. Multilocus sequence typing of isolates demonstrated that the flies were carrying broiler-associated sequence types, responsible for human enteric illness. Malaise traps were used to survey the dipteran species diversity on study farms and also revealed up to 612 flies present around broiler-house ventilation inlets over a 2-h period. Therefore, despite the low prevalence of Campylobacter cultured from flies, the risk of transmission by this route may be high, particularly during summer when fly populations are greatest.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Royden A, Wedley A, Merga JY, Rushton S, Hald B, Humphrey T, Williams NJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Epidemiology & Infection

Year: 2016

Volume: 144

Issue: 15

Pages: 3326-3334

Print publication date: 01/11/2016

Online publication date: 15/08/2016

Acceptance date: 14/06/2016

Date deposited: 06/04/2017

ISSN (print): 0950-2688

ISSN (electronic): 1469-4409

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0950268816001539


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