Research Topic

Poultry Coccidiosis: Strategies to Understand and Control

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Coccidiosis is an enteric disease caused by several protozoans of the genus Eimeria spp., and is one of the most prominent infections affecting the poultry industry. Several factors determine the course of disease outbreak and pathogenicity, such as species, environment, infectant dose, immunity status, ...

Coccidiosis is an enteric disease caused by several protozoans of the genus Eimeria spp., and is one of the most prominent infections affecting the poultry industry. Several factors determine the course of disease outbreak and pathogenicity, such as species, environment, infectant dose, immunity status, presence of other diseases, diet, etc. The parasite damages the intestinal epithelial cells, leading to performance losses and even death, with economic consequences of billions of dollars in loss each year. Coccidian sporulated oocysts can survive in the environment for almost two years, and its occurrence is mainly related to poor biosecurity conditions. The diagnosis can be made via a coproparasitological exam looking for oocysts, or by necropsy and observation of Eimeria spp. lesions macroscopically or via histological analysis.

Controlling the infection traditionally involves anticoccidial drugs, such as ionophores, as well as proper management, but is moving towards immune modulation via feed additives and vaccines. The employed method of control is a point of deep discussion, considering that anticoccidial drugs are effective at controlling the disease, but there are concerns regarding the development of resistance to these products by the parasite. On the other hand, a live vaccine’s ability to provide protection depends on the pathogenicity of the protozoan. Wild strain vaccines promote long-term and faster immunity, but these benefits come with impacts on performance: diminished body weight gain and increased feed conversion ratio. Attenuated vaccines are also available, however, the immunity is shorter-lived and the costs of producing these vaccines are higher.

Therefore, gathering the most recent findings on the control of coccidiosis could alter our approach to dealing with the problem of Eimeria spp. For these alternative products to be developed, the most basic information regarding the disease must be reviewed, considering that candidate products might be effective by interfering basic aspects of Eimeria spp., such as its life-cycle. Understanding the relationship of coccidiosis with other aspects of poultry, such as nutrition, is also valuable in advancing our control of the disease.

This Research Topic aims to unite studies on three main themes regarding poultry coccidiosis:

1. immunology and microbiome,
2. coccidiosis control
3. nutrition and metabolism.

Authors are encouraged to submit their original research and reviews to contribute to this volume. Our goal is to provide a dense resource regarding coccidiosis, to guide researchers in their future projects.


Keywords: Chicken, Eimeria, Immunology, Nutrition and Metabolism, Coccidiosis Control


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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