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Chicken Infectious Anemia

Blue Wing Disease, Anemia Dermatitis Syndrome, Hemorrhagic Aplastic Anemia Syndrome

Chicken infectious anemia (CIA) is a highly contagious, acute anemic condition that affects young chicks (under 4-5 weeks of age) worldwide. CIA is caused by the chicken anemia virus (CAV), a non-enveloped single stranded DNA virus belonging to the genus Gyrovirus under the family Circoviridae.

The most significant aspect of CIA is that it impairs the chicken's immune system which results in:There are reports of increased severity of clinical signs associated with CIAV, following infectious bronchitis infection, due to immunosuppression effects. Adult chickens can also become infected with CIAV, but they usually do not develop any clinical signs of disease, however they do act as a source of infection for younger birds. Affected chicks show signs of severe anemia, which consist of paleness, weakness, depression, ruffled feathers, loss of appetite, poor weight gain, and subcutaneous and muscular internal bleeding. Chicks with CIA also show increased susceptibility to secondary infections.


CIAV is transmitted to chickens vertically through breeder flocks to their offspring, contamination of specific pathogen free (SPF) eggs, and horizontally through infected organic material or contaminated equipment.

Clinical Signs

Loss of appetite
Ruffled feathers
Pale comb, wattles, eyelids or legs
Huddling under a heat source
Reduced growth
Red to blue discoloration of skin
Weight loss


  • Virus isolation
  • PCR
  • Increased antibody titers
  • Immunoperoxidase staining


Supportive careIsolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own chicken "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress. Call your veterinarian.
AshwagandhaAdministered as a feed supplementMahima et al., 2012; Latheef et al., 2013
Cytokine therapy



Vaccination - vertical transmission of the disease can be controlled by vaccinating breeding hens with both live attenuated and inactivated vaccines.

Scientific References

Age Range

It occurs in chicken of all ages, however chicks are most susceptible the first 2-4 weeks of life.

Risk Factors

  • Poor sanitation
  • Overcrowding