U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Modulation of the Immune Response to Improve Health and Reduce Foodborne Pathogens in Poultry

Christina L. Swaggerty, Todd R. Callaway, Michael H. Kogut, Andrea Piva, Ester Grilli
Microorganisms 2019 v.7 no.3 pp. -
Campylobacter, Salmonella, antibiotics, cattle, chickens, dietary supplements, digestive system, flocks, food composition, food pathogens, foodborne illness, growth promotion, humans, immune response, immune system, immunocompetence, immunomodulation, inflammation, methodology, microorganisms, poultry industry, poultry products, swine, United States
Salmonella and Campylobacter are the two leading causes of bacterial-induced foodborne illness in the United States. Food production animals including cattle, swine, and chickens are transmission sources for both pathogens. The number of Salmonella outbreaks attributed to poultry has decreased; the same cannot be said for Campylobacter, where 50-70% of human cases result from poultry products. The poultry industry selects heavily on performance traits, which adversely affects immune competence. Despite increasing demand for poultry, regulations and public outcry resulted in the ban of antibiotic growth promoters, pressuring the industry to find alternatives to manage flock health. One approach is to incorporate a nutritional program that naturally enhances and modulates the bird’s immune response. Nutritional immunomodulation manipulates the immune system using a targeted supplementation of dietary nutrients and compounds to alter immune function. Science-based nutritional modulation of the immune system will target ways to reduce inflammation, boost a weakened response, manage gut health, and provide an alternative approach to prevent disease and control foodborne pathogens when conventional methods are not efficacious or not available. The role of nutritional immunomodulation is just one aspect of an integrated, coordinated approach to produce healthy birds that are also safe and wholesome products for consumers.