Three different lytic bacteriophages (BPs) were isolated from the sewage system of commercial chicken flocks and used to reduce Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) colonization from experimental chickens. Ten-day-old chickens were challenged with 9.6 × 105 colony-forming units (CFU)/ml of a SE strain and treated by coarse spray or drinking water with a cocktail of the three phages at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 103 plaque-forming units (PFU) 24 hr prior to SE challenge. Chickens were euthanatized at day 20 of age for individual SE detection, quantitative bacteriology, and phage isolation from the intestine and from a pool of organs. SE detection was performed by both bacteriologic culture and genome detection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Qualitative bacteriology showed that aerosol-spray delivery of BPs significantly reduced the incidence of SE infection in the chicken group (P = 0.0084) to 72.7% as compared with the control group (100%). In addition, SE counts showed that phage delivery both by coarse spray and drinking water reduced the intestinal SE colonization (P < 0.01; P < 0.05, respectively). BPs were isolated at 10 days postinfection from the intestine and from pools of organs from BP-treated chickens. We conclude that the phage treatment, either by aerosol spray or drinking water, may be a plausible alternative to antibiotics for the reduction of Salmonella infection in poultry.
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Vol. 52 • No. 1