Analysis of risk factors for the introduction of Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. in poultry farms using Delphi method
The reduction of the prevalence of zoonoses and zoonotic agents like campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis requires eradication, control and monitoring measures to protect both animal and public health. Therefore, it is important to identify the main sources of infections within the poultry production chain.
As the latest EFSA results show, these zoonotic agents were mostly found on fresh poultry meat as well as in live poultry. Consequently, the main entrance paths have to be identified directly at farm level. Based on a literature review, the 112 risk factors for an introduction of Campylobacter spp. and Salmonella spp. infections were summarised and attributed to 14 risk categories such as farm management, biosecurity, staff hygiene and carcass handling. Afterwards, the main risk factors were identified by elicitation of expert opinion using the Delphi methodology.
In the explorative study, an international expert panel defined and weighted the relative importance of the risk categories and risk factors within a three-stage procedure. According to the working hypothesis, risk factors related to hygiene in the poultry house as well as external service crews are the main determinants for infection. Based on the results an evaluation and assessment scheme for poultry farms will be developed. Furthermore, the results can help to assess the status of poultry farms, to raise awareness in farmers and their staff for relevant farm management techniques within education and training manuals.
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