New Campylobacter Vaccine Strategy Shows Promise

Campylobacter jejuni is the world’s leading foodborne pathogen, and it’s getting ever more troublesome: According to the CDC, Campylobacter cases in 2012 reached their highest level in more than a decade. The infections, most commonly associated with poultry, rose by 14 percent last year compared with the 2006 to 2008 period, while other major foodborne pathogen infection rates generally remained flat.

Now, researchers at Ohio State University have added another potential poultry vaccine to the list of candidates aiming to tackle this troublesome pathogen, this one involving nanoparticles.

In a recent edition of  Poultry Science (2013 Aug;92(8):2201-11), researchers at the Ohio State University reported that chickens vaccinated with biodegradable and biocompatible poly (lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticle-encapsulated outer membrane proteins of Campylobacter had undetectable levels of the pathogen seven days after an exposure challenge. Subcutaneous administration of the vaccine was more effective; chickens that received an oral vaccine did have some detectable levels of Campylobacter.

“Numerous vaccination strategies have been evaluated to develop effective vaccines against Campylobacter jejuni colonization in poultry but with limited success,” noted the authors. In 2011, the bacteria was found on 47 percent of grocery-store purchased raw chicken samples tested by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, so any vaccine that proves to be truly effective at eradicating—or at least drastically reducing—Campylobacter colonization in poultry would deal a significant blow to campylobacteriosis outbreaks in humans.


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