Abstract for: A Model for Campylobacter Contamination in Chicken Meat Production Systems

Campylobacteriosis is the most reported zoonosis in the EU, and in the Netherlands, nearly 73,000 cases were estimated in 2019. Campylobacteriosis, a bacterial infection caused by Campylobacter ingestion, is societally costly and may lead to more severe sequelae. Campylobacter can be ingested via consumption of raw or undercooked chicken, and the systemic impacts of biosecurity measures to reduce Campylobacter contamination on farms and cross-contamination in slaughterhouses are not fully understood. Interviews with stakeholders in the chicken farming industry and literature review were conducted to construct a model of Campylobacter colonization in farm and slaughterhouse environments. Insects, transportation crates, farmers, and catchers were each identified as potential Campylobacter sources; four reinforcing feedback loops were also identified. Simulation results revealed that insect control can reduce the peak percentage of contaminated chickens from 54% to 43% and the peak percentage of contaminated neck samples of chicken carcasses from 12% to 10%. Farm hygiene and visitor control can reduce contaminated chickens to 48% and the contaminated chicken neck samples to 11%. Implementing all investigated interventions may reduce contaminated chickens to 36% and the contaminated chicken neck samples to 9%. These results show that implementing biosecurity measures will greatly reduce, but not eliminate Campylobacter contamination.