Campylobacteriosis is the most commonly reported infectious cause of human gastroenteritis in developed countries and broiler chickens are considered to be the major food-borne source of the infection. The control of the infection in man depends upon its control in broiler flocks but the epidemiology in poultry is poorly understood. Up to 50 per cent of broiler flocks may be infected and most of the birds in an infected flock carry the organisms until slaughter. Vertical transmission through the egg appears unlikely but there are many other potential sources of the infection for the chicks; direct contact with infected animals or birds has been proposed and there is also evidence for indirect transmission through drinking water or insect vectors. It is suggested that the cross-sectional studies discussed in this review should be followed by well designed case-control studies to test the aetiological hypotheses put forward.
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