An experimental campylobacter vaccine for broilers could be available in the next 3-5 years.

According to researchers, the vaccine offers a unique approach in controlling campylobacter by preventing infection of birds.

Campylobacter is the number-one cause of food poisoning in the world, said Lynn Joens, a professor from The University of Arizona Dept of Veterinary Science and Microbiology. So the aim is to prevent contamination before it spreads and survives on raw chicken sold in stores.

Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Prof Joens and University of Arizona students began analysing the campylobacter’s infection process four years ago, to find ways to interrupt it.

The result is a prototype vaccine, which the team is now testing and developing further.

“In our first study of 15 birds we got a very significant reduction – 98% – in campylobacter infection, compared with a control group. We’re now repeating the trial on a larger scale,” said Prof Joens.

“If everything goes right we could have a commercial vaccine in 3-5 years.”