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Surveillance of zoonotic agents in farm animals

Surveillance van bacteriele zoonoseverwekkers bij landbouwhuisdieren

Synopsis

In order to obtain reliable data on the prevalences and trends of zoonotic agents in farm animals in the Netherlands, a monitoring system based on statistical principles was implemented in April 1997. This report presents the results of the first year of monitoring. The monitoring was focused on the occurrence of Salmonella spp. and E. coli O157 in broilers, laying hens (layers), veal calves and dairy cattle. In addition, broiler braces were examined for the presence of (thermophilic) Campylobacter spp. and a selection of braces from all farm animal categories were examined for the presence of verocytotoxin (VT)-producing E. coli (VTEC) of all serotypes. The prevalences of the zoonotic agents were estimated at brace level. Braces were sampled by randomly collecting fresh faecal droppings on the farms. Salmonella spp. were isolated from 22.0% of the broiler braces (n=100), 15.3% of the layer braces (n=163) and 1.6% of the veal calf herds (n=192). S. Enteritidis was isolated from 5.5% of the layer braces. Salmonella spp. were not isolated from any of the dairy cattle herds (n=136). The prevalence of Campylobacter in broiler braces (n=84) was 29.8%. E. coli O157 was isolated from 4.4% of the dairy cattle herds, from 1.6% of the veal calf herds (n=191) and from one of the layer braces. E. coli O157 was not isolated from any of the broiler braces. Found positive for VTEC were 40.5% and 17.2% for the veal calf and dairy cattle herds, and 4.4% and 3.2% for the layer and broiler braces, respectively. Poultry can therefore be concluded to still be an important reservoir of Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. Cattle should be considered as an important reservoir of E. coli O157 and other VTEC serotypes.
 

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