TUCKER, Ga. – Researchers at the USDA Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center in Athens, Ga., have identified a potential vaccine for Campylobacter, the USPOULTRY Foundation reported. The Foundation funded the project.

Researchers purified proteins from Campylobacter and tested them for potential use as vaccines. One particular protein, FliD, showed particular promise.

"We found that this protein is present in all of our 21 C. jejuni isolates and is immunogenic in broilers," according to the researchers' report. "Therefore, this protein will be an excellent candidate for further evaluation as a vaccine to reduce Campylobacter in poultry. In addition, antibodies to this protein may be used for as a tool to monitor the Campylobacter status during poultry production."

The researchers also found that broiler sera reacted to a variety of Campylobacter proteins, demonstrating that chickens had been exposed to or infected with Campylobacter and consequently developed antibodies against it. The study showed antibodies against the FliD protein were widespread in poultry populations.

"Therefore, control of Campylobacter exposure through vaccination of chickens is a logical approach to Campylobacter control, and the FliD protein is a good vaccine candidate," the report stated. "Further studies must be done to evaluate the use of this protein by in ovo application to determine its potential practical use and efficacy."