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Avian Aspergillosis: Prevention and Control

by Dr. Tara Nath Gaire

Department of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health
Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS), Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal.

Complete Article: Avian Aspergillosis by Dr. Tara Nath Gaire

Contents

Abstract ... Introduction ... Etiology ... Growth ... Toxins ... Epidemiology ... Transmission ... Pathogenesis ... Clinical Signs, Gross Lesions, Histopathology & Diagnosis ... Treatments & Acquired Immunity ... Prevention and Control (below) ... References Cited

Prevention and Control

The evidence of moldy litter or feed serves to prevent outbreaks of aspergillosis. An examination of the premises or materials used for feed or litter will usually reveal the source of the infection. Careful selection of mash, grain, and litter is essential in preventing this disease. Access to musty, moldy straw stacks should be avoided. The areas around feed hoppers and watering places are fertile fields for the growth of molds.

Unless a permanent yard system is used, frequent moving of feed troughs and watering places is advisable. Placing feed containers and watering fountains on screened elevated platforms helps to prevent turkeys from picking up molds that develop in such places. Drainage is advisable for areas where water is liable to stand after rains.

Control is best accomplished by removing the cause. A careful search should be made for mold in the litter, the feed, and the feed and water containers. Daily cleaning and disinfection of feed and water utensils will aid in eliminating the infection. Spraying of the ground around the containers with chemical solutions may be advisable if it is impossible to change feeding areas frequently. In outbreaks, a 1:2,000 solution of copper sulfate in place of all drinking water may be used to aid in preventing the spread, though it should not be relied upon as a preventive to be used continually. The antifungal antibiotics as preventives for this disease should be considered.

Protective immunity following vaccination is thought to be useful in treating and preventing avian aspergillosis. However, attempts to devise vaccination strategies appear questionable in immunosuppressed animals that would need passive immunization with immunoglobulins (Schmidt, 2002). Nevertheless, a number of different vaccination strategies have been attempted in birds using different vaccine preparations, but with inconsistent results (Richard et al., 1991; Bauck et al., 1992; Meredith, 1997). Future knowledge regarding virulence factors and the role of cellular immunity in avian aspergillosis may contribute to newer and more effective vaccination strategies.The use of immune stimulants has been suggested (Jenkins, 1991). Levamisole, a derivative of imidazothiazole, has been found to possess an immunostimulant effect as an adjunct in the treatment of chronic infections. However, levamisole did not decrease aspergillosis-associated lesions in turkeys (Perelman, 1993).

In humans, clinical improvement of aspergillosis has been documented after the addition of interferon-γ and granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor to the antifungal treatment (Bandera et al., 2008). Whether the favourable effect of interferon-γ and granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor could also play a role in future treatment protocols for avian aspergillosis needs to be investigated.

 

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