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Fowl Typhoid

Fowl typhoid (FT) is a septicaemic disease of chickens caused by the bacterium, Salmonella enterica serovar Gallinarum (S. Gallinarum). It is one of several diseases caused by infection with Salmonella in chickens. FT occurs worldwide, although it has been eradicated from commercial poultry flocks in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and Japan.

Clinical Signs of Fowl Typhoid in Chickens


Clinical signs seen in adult chickens with FT are reduced appetite, depression, labored breathing, and diarrhea causing feces to stick to the vent (pasty butt). In young chicks, birds may die suddenly without an apparent reason. FT has a similar presentation and diagnosis to Pullorum disease, except FT is more likely to occur in adult chickens.

Transmission


S. gallinarum is most commonly transmitted to chickens vertically through carrier breeders to chicks through hatching eggs. It can also be spread by fomites, rodents, contaminated droppings, flies and wild birds.

Diagnosis


A definitive diagnosis of FT requires the isolation and identification of S. gallinarum. Positive serologic findings can also prove useful.
  • Bacterial Culture: In the acute stage of disease, S. gallinarum can be recovered from almost all organs, tissues and feces. In carrier birds, the organism is found most often in the liver, spleen and reproductive tract, and occasionally in the caecal tonsils. Swabs may be taken from the cloaca of sick birds.
  • Serological Tests: These are best applied as a flock test, as results for individual birds will vary according to the stage of infection. The tests that are most readily applied include rapid whole blood agglutination, rapid serum agglutination (RST), tube agglutination and micro-agglutination. Other serological tests include micro-antiglobulin (Coombs), immunodiffusion, haemagglutination and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Clinical Signs

Sudden death
Loss of appetite
Ruffled feathers
Pale comb/wattles
Sticky (yellow-green) diarrhea
Increased thirst
Droopiness

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • PCR assay
  • Bacterial culture
  • Necropsy

Reported Cases

  • Case 1: Fowl typhoid in a Chickens Fowl typhoid caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Gallinarum is one of the most important bacterial diseases of poultry. The present study was undertaken to ascertain the epidemiological status of fowl typhoid in broilers in Haryana for the past four years (2005-2008) and to establish the role of hatcheries in spreading the Salmonella infection. A total of 227 outbreaks of fowl typhoid were recorded in chickens during the period from January 2005 to December 2008. The maximum number of outbreaks (96) was recorded in the age group of 7-9 days during the past four years. Maximum mortality and case fatality rate were found in chickens of 1-2 weeks of age. Temporal distribution of the disease indicates more outbreaks in extreme weather conditions. From spatial distribution of the disease, it was evident that the disease was prevalent in nine districts of Haryana out of 20. By analysing the data regarding the prevalence of Salmonella infection in hatcheries, more than one third (37.8%) of hatcheries were found to be infected with Salmonella, which is an alarming situation for the region. Ref

  • Case 2: Fowl typhoid in a Chickens FT has been considered to be under control in Brazil; nevertheless, since 2012 it has frequently been identified in poultry farming of several Brazilian states. The present study was aimed at assessing (i) the pathogenicity of a SG strain recently isolated from an FT outbreak affecting chickens of both white and brown layers; (ii) the transmission of SG through eggs and hatching; (iii) the effects of antibiotic therapy on SG persistence in poultry tissues and on its vertical transmission and (iv) the genetic profiles of strains isolated over 27 years by Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis. Clinical signs, mortality and gross pathologies were very marked amongst brown-egg layers. In contrast, clinical manifestation of FT and mortality were barely present amongst the white-egg layers, although bacteria could be re-isolated from their tissues up to 35 days after infection. No bacteria were re-isolated from the laid eggs, so vertical transmission was not achieved, although newly hatched uninfected chicks became infected spontaneously after hatching. Antibiotic therapy was shown to be effective at reducing mortality, but was not able to clear infection or to favour SG revealed an endemic SG clone that may have been circulating in the Brazilian poultry flocks in the south and southeast regions for more than 20 years. The results suggest that the industrial incubation of SG-contaminated eggs could be one of the factors responsible for the spread of FT in Brazil. Ref

  • Case 3: Fowl typhoid in a Quail A fowl typhoid (FT) outbreak is reported in a flock of 400 Japanese quail at 91 days of age. Of these, 222 died suddenly, and necropsy revealed swollen liver and spleen with off-white to yellowish granules and reddish small intestine mucosa. Histopathology showed severe multifocal necrosis of liver and spleen (5/5), pulmonary congestion with macrophage infiltration in air capillaries (5/5), discrete interstitial nephritis (2/2), superficial necrosis of the intestinal mucosa with large numbers of coccobacilli (2/2), moderate peritonitis (2/2), and discrete airsacculitis (1/1). Anti-Salmonella immunohistochemistry (IHC) stained the cytoplasm of macrophages or free in the liver (5/5), spleen (5/5), lungs (4/5), kidneys (2/2) small intestine mucosa (2/2), cecum (1/1), bone marrow (1/1), air sacs (1/1), and ovary (1/1). In the heart (5/5), brain (2/2), esophagus (2/2), pancreas (2/2), proventriculus (2/2), gizzard (1/1), bursa of Fabricius (1/1), oviduct (1/1), and skeletal muscle (1/1) staining was observed only in the lumen of blood vessels. Salmonella Gallinarum was isolated in pure cultures of liver, spleen, lung, intestine, and blood samples of two birds. Ref

Treatment

NameSummary
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.
Probiotics and prebioticsAdded to dietH Al-Khalaifa et al., 2019; A Wolfenden et al., 2007
Thyme (Thymus vulgari) extract5 mg dried extract/mL (0.5% TVAE),V Elmi et al., 2020
Tumeric (Curcuma longa)0.1% in the feedD Hernandez-Patlan et al., 2019; K Varmuzova et al., 2015
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)0.5% of dietK Divua et al., 2015
Selected yeast fraction (SYF) (Safmannan) (Phileo-Lesaffre Animal Care (Marcq-en-Baroeul, France))Added to dietC Zhou et al., 2020
Acidipure (Shanghai Frontan Animal Health Co., Ltd., China)Added to drinking waterC Zhou et al., 2020

Support

Prevention

  • Vaccination - Live and inactivated vaccines are available in some countries.
  • Biosecurity
  • Maintain proper sanitary conditions
  • Acidipure added to drinking water
  • Selected yeast fraction (SYF)

Scientific References

Good Overviews

Age Range

Usually occurs in growing birds 12 weeks old or older.

Risk Factors

  • High rodent populations on premises
  • Poor sanitary practices
  • Letting chickens have access to ponds or other large water sources that could be contaminated by wild bird feces.

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