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1 October 2003 Bacteriophage Treatment of a Severe Escherichia coli Respiratory Infection in Broiler Chickens
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Abstract

SUMMARY. A bacteriophage to a serotype 02, nonmotile Escherichia coli was isolated from municipal waste treatment facilities and poultry processing plants. A study was conducted to determine the efficacy of multiple vs. single intramuscular (i.m.) injections of bacteriophage to treat a severe E. coli respiratory infection. The birds were challenged at 7 days of age by injection of 6 × 104 colony-forming units (cfu) of E. coli into the thoracic air sac followed by an i.m. injection into the thigh with either heat-killed or active bacteriophage. There were 16 treatments with three replicate pens of 10 birds. There were four control treatments, which included untreated birds, birds injected with either heat-killed or active bacteriophage, and birds challenged only with E. coli. In the remaining treatments, birds were injected with heat-killed or active bacteriophage either once immediately after E. coli challenge or immediately after challenge and at 8 and 9 days of age, once at 8 days of age or at 8, 9, and 10 days of age, and once at 9 days of age or at 9, 10, and 11 days of age. Mortality was significantly decreased from 57% to 13% in the birds given a single i.m. injection of bacteriophage immediately after E. coli challenge, and there was complete recovery in birds treated immediately after challenge and at 8 and 9 days of age, which was a significant improvement from the single injection treatment. There was a significant reduction in mortality from 57% to 10% in the birds treated with bacteriophage once at 8 days of age and those birds treated at 8, 9, and 10 days of age, with no difference between single or multiple treatments. The mortality in the single or multiple phage treated birds that started at 9 days of age was reduced from 57% to 28% and 27%, respectively, but was not statistically different from the control. These data suggest that bacteriophage can be an effective treatment when administered early in this experimental E. coli respiratory disease and that early multiple treatments are better than a single treatment. The efficacy of bacteriophage treatment diminishes as it is delayed, with no difference between single or multiple treatments. Bacteriophage may provide an effective alternative to antibiotics, but like antibiotic therapy, the effectiveness of phage to rescue animals decreases the longer treatment is delayed in the disease process.

W. E. Huff, G. R. Huff, N. C. Rath, J. M. Balog, and A. M. Donoghue "Bacteriophage Treatment of a Severe Escherichia coli Respiratory Infection in Broiler Chickens," Avian Diseases 47(4), 1399-1405, (1 October 2003). https://doi.org/10.1637/7041
Received: 10 March 2003; Published: 1 October 2003
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