Strona główna 9 Poultry colibacteriosis

Poultry Colibacteriosis

Escherichia coli belongs to the Enterobacteriaceae family. It is a naturally colonizing, harmless bacterium that is part of the physiological intestinal flora of humans and animals, with no negative impact on. However, during immunodeficiency and in the presence of pathogenic serovars (serovar – serological variant; formerly serotype, serological type), it can cause serious infections.

Disease symptoms can occur in laying hens (commercial and breeding), broiler chickens and turkeys of all ages. In flocks of broiler chickens, the bacterium, at various rearing stages, can cause: mortality, culling of birds showing disease symptoms to reduce the risk of spreading the disease, a decrease in weight gain, and problems with flock uniformity. This ultimately affects the quality of the raw material delivered to the slaughterhouse. Thus, colibacteriosis causes huge economic losses for the poultry producer.

There are several environmental factors that contribute to disease symptoms:

  • decreased immunity;
  • co-occurring diseases
  • nutritional deficiencies; poor feed quality;
  • improperly ventilated poultry houses;
  • excessive stocking density;
  • poor welfare and stress in birds;
  • presence of rodents and parasites.

Pathogenic variants of Echerichia coli infecting birds, causing disease.

There are the following forms of colibacteriosis:

  • Omphalitis and yolk sac inflammation – occurs in chicks; characteristic inflammatory lesions resulting in high mortality.
  • Respiratory colibacteriosis the most common form; primarily affects flocks of laying hens, broiler chickens and turkeys; manifests as shortness of breath, coughing and sneezing; often occurring with concurrent respiratory infections.
  • Acute, septicemic form of colibacteriosis – most common in turkeys for slaughter, does not produce characteristic symptoms; the presence of widespread petechiae, inflammation of the gastrointestinal mucosa and congestion of internal organs is observed.
  • Syndrome of arthritis, and green liver – occurs in turkeys; causes swelling of the liver, inflammation of joints, tendons and bones.
  • Cellulitis – common in flocks of slaughter chickens; characterized by inflammation of the skin and subcutaneous connective tissue; it is a chronic form of colibacteriosis.
  • Colibacteriosis of the reproductive organs – in laying hens during laying; causes an acute form of cloacal inflammation of the ovary, oviduct and peritoneum.

For decades, diseases caused by E. coli in animals and humans were of little concern, as they were mostly eliminated by commonly used antibiotic therapy. However, the situation has changed dramatically as a result of the growing phenomenon of drug resistance. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in antibiotic resistance not only among pathogenic strains but also among commensal ones. The use of antibiotics, not only for therapeutic purposes but also as growth promoters for animals, has now led to the discovery of a number of pathogenic avian-specific E. coli (Avian pathogenic E. coli– APEC) in humans. It has long been suspected that E.coli strains pathogenic to human may be of animal origin. Ongoing genomic research and comparative analyses have revealed similarities between pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli for human and birds. It has also been observed that poultry products as well as live birds are involved in the transmission of antibiotic resistance, which indicates that certain avian bacterial strains may be potential human pathogens.

Individual strains of a given species may differ in their virulence (i.e. their ability to penetrate, multiply and damage the tissues of the infected organism) and in their antibiotic resistance. Drug-resistant strains can move through the food chain and colonize the digestive tract of animals and humans, causing disease.

The problem of drug resistance and the increasing number of zoonoic diseases forces the search for alternatives to antibiotic therapy, that will be equally effective, but also safe for consumers, and will allow raising birds without antibiotics while maintaining at least the same production parameters as in the current production process with antibiotics.

In the era of intensive livestock production, introducing herbal mixtures or extracts into animal nutrition is particularly important. The abundance of herbal ingredients not only ensures good condition and high health status of birds. Herbal additives can improve performance, effectively replace antibiotic growth promoters, and help to reduce the need of use of chemotherapeutics in animals, especially when it comes to disease prevention, leaving antibiotics their proper role in treating diseases caused by virulent – pathogenic strains of microorganisms.

The health-promoting properties of many  plants have been known for centuries. These substances are plant active compounds. Phytoncides and phytoalexins – secreted and excreted by Cormophyta plants (present antibacterial, antiprotozoal and antifungicidal properties – have been known for centuries, although they have only recently been used on a wider scale in animal nutrition. By using phytoncides, we  give back to livestock what we have taken – free access to health-promoting and medicinal plants from pastures and fields.

If you are interested in the details of the research being conducted on modern phytoncides in animal production, we invite you to check out the #ADIFACTS tab or contact your AdiFeed® representative.


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