Prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in feces of chickens at children’s farms and social care farms in the province of Utrecht
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Campylobacteriosis is the most commonly reported zoonosis in humans in the European Union. While most campylobacteriosis cases are foodborne related, direct contact with (farm) animals, especially with poultry which are a natural host for Campylobacter spp., are thought to be another important route of infection. In the Netherlands, children’s farms and social care farms are considered the largest interface between the general public and live (farm) animals. Whereas research on the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. is mostly performed on commercial poultry farms, this study aims to quantify the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in chickens at children’s farms and socials care farms in the Netherlands. At six-teen children’s farms and nine social care farms feces samples from chickens were collected in the province of Utrecht. Thereafter, the samples were examined in the laboratory for identification of Campylobacter spp. using the ISO 10272-1:2017(E) method, confirmed with the Thermo ScientificTM Campylobacter Test (TSC-test). The outcome of the TSC-test is used to examine the difference between the prevalence at the children’s farms and social care farms, using a chi-squared test of independence. The prevalence of Campylobacter at all 25 farms is 56% with 50% at the children’s farms and 67% at social care farms. The chi-squared test of independence showed that there was no significant difference in prevalence between the children’s farms and social care farms (p−value = 0.42 (p> .05)). These results indicate that at least half of the children’s farms and socials care farms Campylobacter is present in feces of chickens. Conclusion: little is known about the prevalence of Campylobacter at children’s farms and social care farms. While this was a small-scale research and plenty more (large-scale) research should be performed to confirm these results, it demonstrates that Campylobacter is easily found on half of the farms. Therefore, owners and managers of these farms should take proper hygienic measures to reduce this potential zoonotic risk. Better understanding of this potential risk is needed to provide appropriate options for prevention of campylobacteriosis due to direct contact with farm animals at children’s farms and social care farms.