Effect of climatic elements onCampylobactercolonization in broiler flocks reared in southern Japan from 2008 to 2012
To demonstrate the effect of climatic elements on Campylobacter colonization in broiler chickens reared in Japan, the correlation between Campylobacter isolated from chickens (191 of 236 flocks, 80.9%) between 2008 and 2012 and climatic elements was analyzed by logistic regression. We divided the rearing process into 13 terms of 5 d each (total: 65 d). Terms were numbered backwards, wherein a 0-term lag was considered as the sampling day plus 4 d before sampling; 1-term lag was the 5-d term before the 0-term lag, and so on, until the 12-term lag. We obtained climatic data tracing back from the 0-term to the 12-term lags. For evaluation in each season, we divided chickens reared during periods of rising temperature (spring, summer) and decreasing temperature (autumn, winter). Air temperature showed a positive correlation with Campylobacter colonization from the 0- to 12-term lags in chickens reared during the period of rising temperature (odds ratio [OR], 1.069 to 1.104), and from the 0- to 4- and 6-term lags (OR, 1.079 to 1.105) in chickens reared during the period of decreasing temperature. The strong positive effect of air temperature on Campylobacter colonization, particularly during the period of rising temperature, may be associated with the effect on the Campylobacter environmental sources and/or vectors. A positive correlation was observed between Campylobacter colonization and humidity when chicken houses were empty and new chicks were introduced (from the 9- to 12-term lags) during the period of decreasing temperature (OR, 1.076 to 1.141). Thus, high humidity would be an important factor causing carry-over of Campylobacter infection during the period of decreasing temperature. We also found that solar radiation increased Campylobacter colonization during the period of decreasing temperature, from the 2- to 8-term lags, except for the 4- and 5-term lags, in Japan. The results of this study demonstrate the effects of air temperature, humidity, and solar radiation on Campylobacter colonization in broiler chickens, and are potentially important for developing strategies to reduce the risk of Campylobacter contamination in broiler chickens.