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16 March 2022 A Novel Presentation of Clostridium perfringens in Young Broilers
Rachel A. Thiemann, Jay Kay Thornton, Philip A. Stayer, Erin Riley, Randi Clark, Natalie Armour, Martha Pulido-Landínez
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Necrotic enteritis (NE) is an important intestinal disease of commercial poultry associated with poor performance, high mortality, and significant economic loss. In this case report, a novel presentation of NE is described in young broilers. Initially, affected farms presented with a moderate increase in mortality at or before 19 days of age. Farms experiencing the disease syndrome belonged to two complexes of the same company. However, all farms sourced chicks from the same hatchery. Farm postmortem examinations revealed moderate to severe enteritis of the upper small intestine characterized by multifocal, irregular, plaque-like, mucosal ulcerations. Additionally, thinning of the intestinal wall with consequential distension and ballooning and a necrotic, pseudomembranous layer covering the mucosa were observed in some birds. Clinically affected birds were submitted to the Poultry Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at Mississippi State University for further evaluation. Birds were between 5 and 11 days of age and presented with similar gross lesions. Anaerobic culture was performed, and Clostridium perfringens was isolated from affected intestinal sections. Environmental sampling at the hatchery was also performed to evaluate the presence and load of clostridial organisms. Clostridium perfringens was isolated from samples collected in the egg room, hatchers/hatch halls, separator room, processing room, and transport trucks. Furthermore, VITEK® mass spectrometry matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight results indicated a 99.9% genetic relatedness between hatchery and live bird isolates, demonstrating an epidemiologic link between clinically affected birds and the hatchery as a point source. This novel presentation of C. perfringens in young broilers warrants attention because proper development of the gastrointestinal tract in the first weeks of life is critical for competitive production in the modern broiler.

Rachel A. Thiemann, Jay Kay Thornton, Philip A. Stayer, Erin Riley, Randi Clark, Natalie Armour, and Martha Pulido-Landínez "A Novel Presentation of Clostridium perfringens in Young Broilers," Avian Diseases 66(2), 205-212, (16 March 2022).
Received: 28 October 2021; Accepted: 26 January 2022; Published: 16 March 2022
clostridial enteritis
Clostridium perfringens
necrotic enteritis
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