Researchers from the Royal Veterinary College studied the condition of poultry keepers and it was found out that campylobacter could spread easily in their farms. This is due to the fact that farmers or keepers have less knowledge on the importance of keeping their farms properly for better animal welfare and for prevention of spreading campylobacter bacteria.
Campylobacter is a bacterium that can cause campylobacteriosis, which has symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever, and nausea. Raw and undercooked meats and wastes from poultry, cats, and dogs are usual sources of campylobacter bacteria.
The study found out that farm keepers make sure to have a good living condition for the animals but they do not have sufficient knowledge about possible diseases that can be brought by bacteria carried by animals like campylobacter. They also fail to meet the standard criteria set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs regarding the feeding of catering wastes to animals. The country banned the feeding of catering wastes to farm animals because they can facilitate spread of viruses and bacteria like campylobacter. Another concern was that children of farmers are often in contact with poultry animals making them at risk of being infected by campylobacter.
Farmers also neglected vaccinations, biosecurity, and proper hygiene that make them more susceptible to campylobacter.
The researchers discovered that farm keepers should be given more information about bacteria that can spread in farms like campylobacter and on how they can prevent them.
A pocket-sized diagnostic assay used to detect Campylobacter has been developed in Philadelphia by a life science startup. Campylobacter is a food borne pathogen usually found in poultry and raw or undercooked meat. The device to detect Campylobacter is now accredited by the Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC). The diagnostic assay for detecting Campylobacter can help reduce healthcare cost and can provide information for hospital-acquired infections. This is also helpful especially that Campylobacter is the main source of diarrhea in the United States and more than 2.5 million residents are affected each year in the United States alone.
The goal of the test is to submit to stricter food testing standards and to use a molecular system to lessen the time needed to verify if a sample is contaminate with Campylobacter. According to Ben Pascal, CEO of Invisible Sentinel, another use of the Veriflow test is detecting other infections aside from Campylobacter that were acquired from hospitals. Hospital-acquired infections are also one of the problems in healthcare.
The manufacturing company is now waiting for signal of AOAC for the Campylobacter detector or called the Veriflow test to be accredited by the US Department of Agriculture, its European Union counterparts, and other international regulatory agencies.
The Veriflow test for Campylobacter is now being manufactured in the University City Science Center, Philadelphia. The manufacturing company is already working with other US and Europe partners for the development of the diagnostic assay for bacteria like Campylobacter.
Studies have shown that the children of dairy farmers in New Zealand are with the highest risk of campylobacter disease because they are always in contact with farm animals. Farm animals, especially poultry are considered carriers of campylobacter bacteria responsible for campylobacteriosis.
Studies also show that there the rate of children in urban areas infected by campylobacter is decreasing while the number of children suffering from campylobacteriosis in rural areas are increasing.
This stomach illness caused by campylobacter is accompanied by symptoms like fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Campylobacter is also considered to be endemic in New Zealand that a great number of its residents suffered from the disease caused by campylobacter. Farming areas are usually with the highest rates of residents infected by campylobacter and outbreaks usually occur during peak seasons of dairy farming.
There is also a new strain of the campylobacter bacteria called C. Aotearoa that is believed to be endemic in the country. Native birds in New Zealand like water rails pukeko, weka, and takahe carry this strain of campylobacter.
The public health sectors, researchers, and scientist are working on informing the public of what they can do to prevent campylobacter diseases. Researchers at the Massey-based Hopkirk Institute are studying campylobacter and its origin. They are now educating the public about campylobacter and the diseases it can bring. At the same time, they are also promoting good hygiene and importance of hand washing after getting in contact with farm animals to prevent diseases.