In Switzerland, domestic turkey meat is a niche product. Turkeys are fattened on mixed family-based farms scattered across the country, with most providing access to an uncovered outdoor pasture for the birds. Swiss fattening turkeys may therefore get infected with Chlamydiaceae via wild birds or their faeces, potentially shedding these bacteria at a later stage. The aim of the present study was to acquire baseline data about the shedding of Chlamydiaceae in clinically unremarkable Swiss fattening turkeys at slaughter, potentially exposing slaughterhouse workers to infection. In this large-scale study, 1008 cloacal swabs of Swiss turkeys out of 53 flocks from 28 different grow-out farms with uncovered outdoor pasture were collected over the course of 14 months and examined for the occurrence of Chlamydiaceae by a family-specific 23S-rRNA real-time PCR. Positive samples were further analyzed by Chlamydia psittaci (C. psittaci)-specific real-time PCR and the Arraymate DNA Microarray for species identification. All samples were negative for C. psittaci, but seven swabs out of one flock were tested positive for Chlamydia gallinacea (0.7%). Although turkeys with access to pasture may have contact with Chlamydiaceae-harbouring wild birds or their faeces, the infection rate in Swiss turkeys was shown to be low.
PLoS ONE (PloS one)
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