Detection of Campylobacter jejuni from the skin of broiler chickens, ducks, squab, quail, and guinea fowl carcasses

B. A. McCrea, K. H. Tonooka, C. Van Worth, Edward R Atwill, J. S. Schrader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Campylobacter jejuni is often found on broiler carcasses and can cause gastroenteritis in humans. Both carcass rinses and swabs of the skin have been utilized to ascertain the prevalence of C. jejuni in the processing plant. Not all poultry commodities are equally capable of carrying C. jejuni on the carcass skin. Our objective was to measure the probability of C. jejuni detection (sensitivity) for the skin swabbing method followed by enrichment in semisolid media, and to ascertain the sensitivity of this method for commercial broiler, duck, squab, quail, and guinea fowl. The probability of detecting skin contaminated with C. jejuni was significantly higher for broiler chicken compared to retail duck, squab, quail, or guinea fowl for 10 or 100 colony-forming units (CFU)/in2 of skin (1 in2 = 1 square inch = 2.5 x 2.5 cm). Thirty-three percent (10 CFU/in2) and 100% (100 CFU/in2) of skin samples from broilers were positive for C. jejuni at the levels inoculated while 7-20% and 47-80% of skin samples were detected as contaminated with C. jejuni at 10 or 100 CFU/in2 for retail duck, squab, quail, and guinea fowl, respectively. Our method of using skin swabs and enrichment with semisolid media generated a sensitivity of almost 100% for detecting C. jejuni at 1000 or 10,000 CFU/in2 skin regardless of poultry species. The level of contamination that our method could detect with 50% and 90% reliability (DT50 and DT90) was 14 and 79 (broilers); 67 and 406 (squab); 39 and 226 (quail); 69 and 400 (guinea fowl); 69 and 400 (duck) CFU/in2 of skin, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-57
Number of pages5
JournalFoodborne Pathogens and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Food Science


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