Day-old broiler chicks (n = 30) were obtained from a commercial hatchery and inoculated, either orally or intracloacally, with a characterized strain of Campylobacter jejuni. At 1 hr, 1 day, and 1 wk after inoculation, broilers (n = 5) from the orally and intracloacally inoculated groups along with control birds (n = 4) were humanely killed by cervical dislocation. The broilers from the control and treatment groups were aseptically opened, and the thymus, spleen, liver/gallbladder, bursa of Fabricius, and ceca were aseptically removed and individually analyzed for C. jejuni. Overall, C. jejuni was isolated after oral inoculation from 13% (10/75), 17% (13/75), and 28% (14/50) of the 1-hr, 1-day, and 1-wk samples, respectively. Campylobacter jejuni was isolated from 10% (4/40), 8% (3/40), 10% (4/40), 25% (10/40), and 40% (16/40) of the thymus, spleen, liver/gallbladder, bursa of Fabricius, and ceca samples, respectively. Following the intracloacal route of inoculation, C. jejuni was recovered from 32% (24/75), 8% (6/75), and 16% (8/50) of the 1-hr, 1-day, and 1-wk samples, respectively. Campylobacter jejuni was isolated from 5% (2/40), 5% (2/40), 5% (2/40), 45% (18/40), and 40% (16/40) of the thymus, spleen, liver/gallbladder, bursa of Fabricius, and ceca samples, respectively, for all sampling periods. Campylobacter spp. were not recovered from sample sites examined from the control broilers from trial one, trial two, or trial three samples examined after 1 hr and 1 day. However, one control sample was positive from the 1-wk sampling from repetition three; therefore, those data were omitted. The rapid movement of Campylobacter to internal organs following both oral and intracloacal inoculation may be significant, particularly if it persists in these organs as reservoirs throughout the 65-wk life cycle of breeding birds.
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Vol. 49 • No. 1