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Once turkeys arrive at Midwest processing plants, they are usually held in large open-sided sheds for 1 to 4 h, waiting to be unloaded. In hot, humid weather, large fans are used to cool the birds. The resultant air currents distribute a significant amount of dust to the turkeys. The dust created in this environment could be a factor in the number of Salmonella-contaminated turkeys entering slaughter plants. The objective of this study was to determine if rapid transmission of Salmonella in turkeys could occur from exposure toSalmonella-contaminated dust similar to what may be experienced in holding sheds or in other high-dust environments prior to slaughter. In the first experiment, trials of 3 different concentrations of Salmonella (1.2 × 109, 2.6 × 107, and 2.6 × 105 cfu/g) were conducted to determine if transmission ofSalmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium var. typhimuriumχ4232 to turkeys 2 to 4 h after aerosol exposure to contaminated feces is possible. Results showed that turkeys became infected after 2 h of exposure to airborne-contaminated feces with a concentration level of 2.6 × 105 cfu of SalmonellaTyphimurium/g. In the second experiment, consisting of 3 trials, 1 bank (5 cages wide and 3 cages high) of turkeys (n = 15 birds per trial) was exposed to another bank of cages of S. Typhimurium-inoculated (n = 15) birds for 2 to 4 h using a fan similar to the type in processing-plant cooling sheds. Results from this experiment demonstrated that birds could be contaminated with S.Typhimurium after 2 h of exposure. Results of both studies implicate contaminated dust as a route of rapid airborne transmission of Salmonella in turkeys. Processes that generate significant dust prior to slaughter should be regarded as critical control points for Salmonella.
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Harbaugh, E.; Trampel, Darrell W.; Wesley, Irene V.; Hoff, Steven J.; Griffith, Ronald W.; and Hurd, H. Scott, "Rapid Aerosol Transmission of Salmonella Among Turkeys in a Simulated Holding-Shed Environment" (2006). Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Publications. 367.
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