Isolation of Campylobacter spp and Escherichia coli 0157: H7 from free-range indigenous chicken value chain in Kenya

  • J.K.N. Kuria
  • E.W. Ngethe
  • L.W. Kabuage
  • P.B. Gathura


Objectives: To determine the biosafety of a free range indigenous chicken value chain with reference to zoonotic bacteria, Campylobacter spp and Escherichia coli 0157: H7.

Design: cross-sectional sampling of chickens and chicken meat carcasses at farm and market level.

Setting: Makueni and Nairobi Counties.

Subjects: Cloacal swabs were collected, 280 in farms and 390 in live bird market. Forty dressed carcasses were obtained from the market’s slaughter facility and rinse- wash fluid prepared from each carcass. Cloacal swabs and rinse-wash fluid samples were cultured in selective media to isolate the specific organism. Campylobacter spp was confirmed at genus level by biochemical tests and PCR analysis for 16S rRNA gene, and at species level by multiplex PCR. Escherichia coli O157:H7 was confirmed by biochemical and serological tests.

Results: The prevalence of Campylobacter spp in farm, live bird and in dressed carcasses was 50.87%, 9.49% and 27.5% respectively. C. jejuni and C. coli had a prevalence of 36.78% and 6.42%; 3.85% and 0.77%; and 7.5% and 0% at the three value chain levels respectively. E. coli O157:H7 had a prevalence of 1.42%, 5.92% and 11.42 % in the three levels respectively.

Conclusion: Free-range chicken value chain may carry zoonotic organisms such as Campylobacter spp and E.coli 0157:H7. There is need therefore to sensitise consumers in proper handling and cooking of meat carcasses to minimize threat to human health.


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eISSN: 0012-835X