Ten conventional and four extensive outdoor broiler flocks, distributed over nine farms, were investigated twice per week during a 35–58-day rearing period to observe the dynamics of Campylobacter spp. spread within these flocks. Strains isolated during this period were genotyped by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the flaA gene and macrorestriction profiling with pulsed field gel electrophoresis. A total of 4112 samples were collected; 157 (3.8%) of these samples were Campylobacter positive, with all C. jejuni. The positive samples were distributed over three conventional and two extensive outdoor flocks on five farms. These five positive flocks were colonized from the fifth to the seventh week of age and remained colonized until slaughter. Each of the flocks showed a flock-specific genotype of Campylobacter that predominated until slaughter. Presuming different ways of entry, a combination of this fact and the observed dynamics of C. jejuni spread within the flocks indicates that a single source from the environment may have been responsible for the colonization of each flock. These conclusions may serve to further develop combat strategies at farm level.
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Vol. 49 • No. 3