Risk Analysis

A Probabilistic Transmission Model for the Spread of Extended‐Spectrum‐β‐Lactamase and AmpC‐β‐Lactamase‐Producing Escherichia Coli in the Broiler Production Chain

Journal Article


Direct contact between humans and live broilers, as well as the consumption of chicken meat, have been suggested as pathways for transmission of extended‐spectrum‐β‐lactamase (ESBL) and AmpC‐β‐lactamase (AmpC)‐producing Escherichia coli. One approach to design intervention strategies to control the transmission of such bacteria between animals and humans is to study the transmission pathways of such bacteria between the animals themselves. The rationale is that controlling the process of the underlying source, here transmission between animals, can provide hints on how to control a higher‐level process, here the transmission between animals and humans. The focus of this article is the transmission of the above‐mentioned bacteria between broilers and broiler flocks in meat production with regards to the establishment of possible intervention strategies to reduce the transfer of these bacteria between animals. The objective of this work is to design a mathematical transmission model describing the effects of vertical and horizontal bacterial transmission in the broiler production chain, from the parent generation to the slaughterhouse level. To achieve this objective, an existing transmission model for Campylobacter was adapted for the case of E. coli. The model keeps track of prevalence among flocks (flock prevalence) and of prevalence among animals within one flock (animal prevalence). Flock and animal prevalences show different dynamics in the model. While flock prevalence increases mainly through horizontal transmission in hatcheries, animal prevalence increases mainly at the broiler‐fattening farm. Transports have rather small effects just as the vertical transmission from parents to chicks.

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