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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Improving Drag Swab Detection of Salmonella in Broiler Litter

Authors
item Buhr, Richard
item Richardson, Larry
item Cason Jr, John
item Cox, Nelson

Submitted to: Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 18, 2006
Publication Date: July 16, 2006
Citation: Buhr, R.J., Richardson, L.J., Cason Jr, J.A., Cox Jr, N.A. 2006. Improving drag swab detection of salmonella in broiler litter [abstract]. Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract. 85(1):18.

Technical Abstract: For the past 25 years drag swabs have been used to sample litter in broiler growout houses to predict Salmonella status of the flocks. A drag swab consists of a cotton gauze swab attached to a cord, moistened with double strength skim milk, and dragged across the surface of the litter as the sampler walks through the house. Recent reports have indicated that litter sampling with a shoe cover or sock (worn over disposable plastic boots) has detected Salmonella-positive litter with better sensitivity. In the present study, Salmonella-positive litter was sampled by intermittently stepped on drag swabs (ISODS) as well as the traditional drag swab and sock methods described above, to test whether increased contact of the sampling surface with the litter increases detection of Salmonella. Chicks in each of 12 pens had been challenged with Salmonella on the day of placement. At 6 wk of age, ceca were Salmonella-positive from 87/120 (73%) of the broilers sampled (10 per pen). Litter was sampled at 7, 8, and 9 wk of age. At 7 and 8 wk the pens were occupied with broilers and at 9 wk the pens had been vacant for 1 wk. At 7 wk, 11/12 drag swabs, 11/12 ISODS, and 12/12 socks were Salmonella-positive. With high levels of Salmonella present in the litter, all sampling methods were equally able to detect Salmonella from the litter. At 8 wk, 4/12 drag swabs, 8/12 ISODS, and 7/12 socks were Salmonella-positive and at 9 wk, 1/12 drag swabs, 6/12 ISODS, and 5/12 socks were Salmonella-positive. When sampling at 8 and 9 wk the ISODS and the sock sampling methods recovered more than twice as many Salmonella-positive samples when compared to traditional drag swab sampling. Intermittently stepping on drag swabs while sampling litter in broiler houses may increase detection of Salmonella in broiler flocks at no additional cost.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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