Occurrence of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. in pigs and the assessment of biosecurity measures employed at unorganized pig farms in Thrissur, Kerala
R. Vivekanandhan, B. Sunil, C. Latha, K. Vrinda Menon, R. Ambily and V.L Gleeja
Campylobacter spp. is considered as one of the major causes of foodborne illnesses worldwide. A total of 130 samples including faecal samples (n=40), rectal swabs (n=40) and sewage samples (n=50) were collected from the two unorganized pig farms to study the occurrence of Campylobacter spp. The biosecurity measures on the farms were also assessed. An overall occurrence of 26.15 per cent with a higher rate of isolation from rectal swabs (57.5 per cent) than faecal and sewage samples (25 per cent and 2 per cent) were observed. The occurrence of C. coli was found to be 55 per cent, while that of C. jejuni and C. coli was 5 per cent in rectal swabs collected from Farm A. Campylobacter coli could be isolated only from the sewage sample from farm B. Direct multiplex PCR screening detected C. coli in 32 per cent and 44 per cent of sewage samples from farms A and B, respectively. This indicates that the Campylobacter organisms in sewage samples might have attained viable but not culturable form. In both farms, no effective biosecurity measures were followed. The lack of biosecurity measures in farms contributes to the transmission of Campylobacter spp. from the environment to the animals. Farm workers of both the farms were unaware of hygienic practices and biosecurity measures. Furthermore, little attention was paid to personal protective measures, which could pose a significant occupational risk of contracting campylobacteriosis, resulting in complex sequelae.
Keywords: Biosecurity, Campylobacter, Campylobacteriosis, One Health, Pig farm