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Millsboro, DE, United States

Dumas M.D.,University of Delaware | Polson S.W.,University of Delaware | Ritter D.,Mountaire Farms Inc. | Ravel J.,University of Maryland Baltimore County | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Viral and bacterial pathogens are a significant economic concern to the US broiler industry and the ecological epicenter for poultry pathogens is the mixture of bedding material, chicken excrement and feathers that comprises the litter of a poultry house. This study used high-throughput sequencing to assess the richness and diversity of poultry litter bacterial communities, and to look for connections between these communities and the environmental characteristics of a poultry house including its history of gangrenous dermatitis (GD). Cluster analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed differences in the distribution of bacterial phylotypes between Wet and Dry litter samples and between houses. Wet litter contained greater diversity with 90% of total bacterial abundance occurring within the top 214 OTU clusters. In contrast, only 50 clusters accounted for 90% of Dry litter bacterial abundance. The sixth largest OTU cluster across all samples classified as an Arcobacter sp., an emerging human pathogen, occurring in only the Wet litter samples of a house with a modern evaporative cooling system. Ironically, the primary pathogenic clostridial and staphylococcal species associated with GD were not found in any house; however, there were thirteen 16S rRNA gene phylotypes of mostly Gram-positive phyla that were unique to GD-affected houses and primarily occurred in Wet litter samples. Overall, the poultry house environment appeared to substantially impact the composition of litter bacterial communities and may play a key role in the emergence of food-borne pathogens. © 2011 Dumas et al. Source

Lee K.W.,Animal and Natural Resources Institute | Lillehoj H.S.,Animal and Natural Resources Institute | Lee S.H.,Animal and Natural Resources Institute | Jang S.I.,Animal and Natural Resources Institute | And 3 more authors.
Avian Diseases | Year: 2011

This study was carried out to investigate the effects of exposure of growing broiler chickens of commercial origin to used poultry litter on intestinal and systemic immune responses. The litter types evaluated were fresh wood shavings or used litter obtained from commercial poultry farms with or without a history of gangrenous dermatitis (GD). Immune parameters measured were serum nitric oxide (NO) levels, serum antibody titers against Eimeria or Clostridium perfringens, mitogen-induced spleen cell proliferation, and intestinal intraepithelial lymphocyte or splenic lymphocyte subpopulations. At 43 days posthatch, birds raised on used litter from a GD farm had higher serum NO levels and greater Eimeria or C. perfringens antibody levels compared with chickens raised on fresh litter or used, non-GD litter. Birds raised on non-GD and GD used litter had greater spleen cell mitogenic responses compared with chickens raised on fresh litter. Finally, spleen and intestinal lymphocyte subpopulations were increased or decreased depending on the litter type and the surface marker analyzed. Although it is likely that the presence of Eimeria oocysts and endemic viruses varies qualitatively and quantitatively between flocks and, by extension, varies between different used litter types, we believe that these data provide evidence that exposure of growing chicks to used poultry litter stimulates humoral and cell-mediated immune responses, presumably due to contact with contaminating enteric pathogens. © 2011 American Association of Avian Pathologists. Source

Jenkins M.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Klopp S.,Townsends Poultry | Ritter D.,Mountaire Farms Inc. | Miska K.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Fetterer R.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Avian Diseases | Year: 2010

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the species composition and salinomycin sensitivity of Eimeria oocysts isolated from commercial broiler farms that differed by means of coccidiosis control (anticoccidial drugs ACD vs. live oocyst vaccines VAC). A comparison of Eimeria species composition and salinomycin sensitivity was also made before and after a producer switched from salinomycin to live oocyst vaccines. In general, no significant difference was observed in the concentration of Eimeria spp. oocysts in litter from VAC-utilizing farms compared to litter from ACD-utilizing farms. Application of PCR-based methods to detect coccidia found that Eimeria species distribution in litter from VAC operations more closely resembled the species composition in the live oocyst vaccines. Drug sensitivity testing found that Eimeria oocysts from VAC operations displayed greater salinomycin sensitivity as measured by weight gain and feed conversion efficiency compared to oocysts from ACD farms. These findings provide additional evidence for the usefulness of live oocyst vaccines to restore ionophore sensitivity in poultry operations that contain an ionophore-resistant population of Eimeria spp. oocysts. © American Association of Avian Pathologists. Source

Li G.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Li G.,Northeast Agricultural University | Lillehoj H.S.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Lee K.W.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | And 8 more authors.
Avian Pathology | Year: 2010

Gangrenous dermatitis (GD) is an emerging disease of increasing economic importance in poultry resulting from infection by Clostridium septicum and Clostridium perfringens type A. Lack of a reproducible disease model has been a major obstacle in understanding the immunopathology of GD. To gain better understanding of host-pathogen interactions in GD infection, we evaluated various immune parameters in two groups of birds from a recent commercial outbreak of GD, the first showing typical disease signs and pathological lesions (GD-like birds) and the second lacking clinical signs (GD-free birds). Our results revealed that GD-like birds showed: reduced T-cell and B-cell mitogen-stimulated lymphoproliferation; higher levels of serum nitric oxide and α-1-acid glycoprotein; greater numbers of K55+, K1+, CD8+, and MHC class II+ intradermal lymphocytes, and increased K55+, K1+, CD8+, TCR1+, TCR2+, Bu1+, and MHC class II+ intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes; and increased levels of mRNAs encoding proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in skin compared with GD-free chickens. These results provide the first evidence of altered systemic and local (skin and intestine) immune responses in GD pathogenesis in chickens. © 2010 Houghton Trust Ltd. Source

Li G.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Li G.,Northeast Agricultural University | Lillehoj H.S.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Lee K.W.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | And 9 more authors.
Avian Pathology | Year: 2010

The present report describes an outbreak of gangrenous dermatitis (GD) infection in a commercial poultry farm in Delaware involving 34-day-old broiler chickens. In addition to obvious clinical signs, some GD-affected broilers also showed severe fibrino-necrotic enteritis and large numbers of Gram-positive rods in the necrotic tissue. Histopathological findings included haemorrhage, degeneration and necrosis of parenchymatous cells, especially of skin, muscle, and intestine. Immunofluorescence staining revealed Clostridium-like bacilli in the skin and the intestine. Both Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium septicum genomic sequences were identified by polymerase chain reaction in bacterial cultures isolated from the skin, muscle, and intestine, and in the frozen tissues from the GD-affected birds. Serological analysis demonstrated that both affected and clinically healthy birds from the same house had high serum antibody titres against C. perfringens, C. septicum, Eimeria, chick anaemia virus, and infectious bursal disease virus. These results are discussed in the context of the relationship between the different Clostridium spp. and the pathogenesis of GD. © 2010 Houghton Trust Ltd. Source

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