Cost-effectiveness analysis of using probiotics, prebiotics, or synbiotics to control Campylobacter in broilers

van Wagenberg, C.P.A.; van Horne, P.L.M.; van Asseldonk, M.A.P.M.


Campylobacter is a food safety hazard, which causes a substantial human disease burden. Infected broiler meat is a common source of campylobacteriosis. The use of probiotics, prebiotics, or synbiotics has been associated with controlling Campylobacter infections in broilers, although efficacy remains a contentiously debated issue. On-farm use of probiotics, prebiotics, or synbiotics is gaining momentum. Therefore, it is interesting to analyze the economic viability of this potential intervention to reduce Campylobacter prevalence in broilers. A normative cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted to estimate the cost-effectiveness ratio of using probiotics, prebiotics, or synbiotics in broiler production in Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. The cost-effectiveness ratio was defined as the estimated costs of probiotics, prebiotics, or synbiotics use divided by the estimated public health benefits expressed in euro (€) per avoided disability-adjusted life year (DALY). The model considered differences between the countries in zootechnical and economic farm performance, in import, export, and transit of live broilers, broiler meat and meat products, and in disease burden of Campylobacter-related human illness. Simulation results revealed that the costs per avoided DALY were lowest in Poland and Spain (€4,000–€30,000 per avoided DALY) and highest in the Netherlands and Denmark (€70,000–€340,000 per avoided DALY) at an efficacy ranging from 10 to 20%. In Poland and Spain, using probiotics can be classified as a moderately expensive intervention if efficacy is more than 10%, otherwise it is relatively expensive. In the Netherlands and Denmark, using probiotics is a relatively expensive intervention irrespective of efficacy. However, if probiotics, prebiotics, or synbiotics were assumed to enhance broiler performance, it would become a relatively cost-effective intervention for Campylobacter even at low efficacy levels of 1 to 10%.