A QMRA for the Transmission of ESBL-ProducingEscherichia coliandCampylobacterfrom Poultry Farms to Humans Through Flies

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Abstract

The public health significance of transmission of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli and Campylobacter from poultry farms to humans through flies was investigated using a worst-case risk model. Human exposure was modeled by the fraction of contaminated flies, the number of specific bacteria per fly, the number of flies leaving the poultry farm, and the number of positive poultry houses in the Netherlands. Simplified risk calculations for transmission through consumption of chicken fillet were used for comparison, in terms of the number of human exposures, the total human exposure, and, for Campylobacter only, the number of human cases of illness. Comparing estimates of the worst-case risk of transmission through flies with estimates of the real risk of chicken fillet consumption, the number of human exposures to ESBL-producing E. coli was higher for chicken fillet as compared with flies, but the total level of exposure was higher for flies. For Campylobacter, risk values were nearly consistently higher for transmission through flies than for chicken fillet consumption. This indicates that the public health risk of transmission of both ESBL-producing E. coli and Campylobacter to humans through flies might be of importance. It justifies further modeling of transmission through flies for which additional data (fly emigration, human exposure) are required. Similar analyses of other environmental transmission routes from poultry farms are suggested to precede further investigations into flies.

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