Understanding the sources of campylobacter infection in Scotland

Understanding the sources of campylobacter infection in Scotland

A report has been published today by the FSA Scotland (FSAS) on research that was led by Dr Ken Forbes, School of Medicine and Dentistry, along with Drs Norval Strachan, Iain Ogden and John Dallas at the University of Aberdeen.

It investigated the key sources of Campylobacter infection in Scotland which will assist in the development of strategies to reduce the levels of food poisoning caused by this organism. 

This project used a molecular typing method (MLST) to compare Campylobacter strain types from clinical cases with those isolated from a broad range of environmental and food sources and was the world's largest study of this kind.

The study identified retail chicken as the single largest source of Campylobacter food poisoning in Scotland and also suggested a role for farm ruminants as potential infection sources. 

The research underlined that for reduction of Campylobacter food poisoning in Scotland intervention strategies should continue to be targeted to the broiler food chain and highlighted the need for further work to identify infection routes from farm ruminants.

This study forms part of a suite of research projects being funded by FSAS to improve our understanding of the sources and epidemiology of Campylobacter infection in Scotland. This work will contribute to the Agency's UK-wide strategy on reducing foodborne disease. The FSAS is planning to hold one-day dissemination event on 17th June 2009 to inform relevant stakeholders on the findings of this research.