You’ve heard of the chickenpox vaccine. But how about a chicken-campylobacter vaccine?
It doesn’t yet exist. But scientists say vaccinating chickens against the common bacterial infection could drastically reduce the number of food-poisoning cases it causes in humans.
Washington State University researchers, reporting their findings at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Dublin, said such a vaccine would not only reduce foodborne illnesses but also save the economy millions of dollars each year.
Campylobacter is a leading cause of food-borne illness. The bacteria are found in the gut of chickens and other animals. If tainted poultry is not properly prepared and cooked, the microbe can infect humans and cause severe gastrointestinal disease.
Washington State scientists said they have identified substances that block the growth of the bacterial “which has given us a starting point for a vaccine against campylobacter," said Michael Konkel, who is leading the research.
"Ideally, the best way to prevent contamination is to stop chickens on the farm from becoming colonized with this microorganism in the first place, which could be achieved by vaccination,” he added. “Our goal within the next 6 months is to test a vaccine for chickens that will reduce campylobacter colonization levels. There's still a long way to go, but I'm confident our lab and others are moving in the right direction."