Parasitic infections caused by Eimeria species are responsible for most economic losses in poultry production. Prevalence studies can adequately assist the design of prophylaxis strategies for disease control. Therefore, stool samples from 251 flocks of broilers from 28 to 48 days old were collected in 21 municipalities in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, to detect and examine the prevalence of Eimeria acervulina, Eimeria maxima, Eimeria tenella, Eimeria mitis, Eimeria praecox, Eimeria necatrix, and Eimeria brunetti. The oocysts were recovered and quantified, and the species were identified by a multiplex PCR technique. Amplicons of seven Eimeria species originating from the PCR-positive samples were cloned. Microscopy studies demonstrated that 96% of the farms were positive for the Eimeria. Seven species were identified, as follows: E. maxima (63.7%) and E. acervulina (63.3%) were the most prevalent species, followed by E. tenella (54.6%), E. mitis (38.6%), E. praecox (25.1%), E. necatrix (24.3%), and E. brunetti (13.1%). The average number of species detected per farm was 2.96, and the most common were E. acervulina, E. maxima, and E. tenella (9.16%). The sequencing of the clones confirmed the specificity and effectiveness of multiplex PCR for the identification of seven species of Eimeria, so this tool can be useful in studying circulating species in poultry farms, thereby assisting prophylactic measures against coccidiosis.
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Vol. 59 • No. 2