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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Occurrence of Salmonella spp.: a comparison between indoor and outdoor housing of broilers and laying hens

Wierup, Martin; Wahlström, Helene; Lahti, Elina; Eriksson, Helena; Jansson, Monica Desiree Seger; Odelros, Åsa; Ernholm, Linda


Background: Outdoor production of poultry is rapidly increasing, which could be associated with increased risks for exposure to different environmental sources of Salmonella. We report a comparison on the occurrence of Salmonella during 2007-2015 in broilers and laying hens in outdoor and indoor production subjected to the same requirements for the prevention and control of Salmonella as applied in Sweden.Results: Our results give no indication that, during the period studied, the exposure to Salmonella in outdoor poultry production was higher than in the indoor production. The annual incidence of Salmonella infected flocks in outdoor production remained at a very low and at a similar level as for indoor production. For laying hens the annual proportion of birds in test positive flocks ranged from 0 to 1.3% for indoor production from 0 to 2.0% for outdoor production. For broilers the proportion of Salmonella infected flocks (2013-2015) was 0.16% for indoor, and 0% in outdoor production. The difference was not statistically significant and was further reduced when flocks infected due to vertical transmission or from a hatchery source were excluded. It should, however, be considered that the number of outdoor flocks included in this evaluation is very small and continuous evaluation is needed.Conclusions: New animal production systems, including those driven by consumer and welfare demands, may be associated with a higher risk for the exposure of potential pathogens to food animals and possibly also subsequent outbreaks of food borne infections. In this study no increase in the risk for exposure of flocks to Salmonella in outdoor poultry production was found. The situation may well change and the possibility of Salmonella contamination in outdoor poultry production requires continuous attention.


Salmonella; Broiler; Laying hen; Outdoor poultry production; Indoor poultry production; Environmental exposure; Wildlife; Free-range

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2017, Volume: 59, number: 13, pages: 1-8

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          Animal and Dairy Science
          Other Veterinary Science

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