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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Bacteriophage Treatment of a Severe Escherichia Coli Respiratory Infection in Broiler Chickens.

Authors
item Huff, William
item Huff, Geraldine
item Rath, Narayan
item Balog, Janice
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 24, 2003
Publication Date: December 9, 2003
Citation: HUFF, W.E., HUFF, G.R., RATH, N.C., BALOG, J.M., DONOGHUE, A.M. BACTERIOPHAGE TREATMENT OF A SEVERE ESCHERICHIA COLI RESPIRATORY INFECTION IN BROILER CHICKENS. AVIAN DISEASES. 2003. V. 47. P. 1399-1405.

Interpretive Summary: Bacteriophage are viruses that infect and kill bacteria, but do not harm plants, animals, or people. A study was conducted to determine the efficacy of multiple versus single intramuscular (i.m.) injections of bacteriophage to treat a severe E. coli respiratory infection in chickens. The birds were challenged at 7 days of age with E. coli followed by an i.m. injection into the thigh with either heat killed or active bacteriophage. 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 significantly different 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 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 d 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 an 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.

Technical Abstract: Bacteriophage to a serotype 02, non-motile E. coli were isolated from municipal waste treatment facilities and poultry processing plants. A study was conducted to determine the efficacy of multiple versus single intramuscular (i.m.) injections of bacteriophage to treat a severe E. coli respiratory infection. The birds were challenged at 7 d of age by injecting 6 x104 cfu E. coli into the thoracic airsac followed by an i.m. injection into the thigh with either heat killed or active bacteriophage. There were 16 treatments with 3 replicate pens of 10 birds. There were 4 control treatments, which included untreated birds, birds injected with either heat killed or active bacteriophage, and birds only challenged with E. coli. In the remaining treatments, birds were either injected with heat killed or active bacteriophage once immediately after E. coli challenge or immediately after challenge and 8 and 9 d of age, once at 8 d of age or 8, 9, and 10 d of age, and once at 9 d of age or 9, 10, and 11 d 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 d 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 d of age and those birds treated at 8, 9, and 10 d of age, with no difference between single or multiple treatments. The mortality in the single or multiple phage treated birds that started at 9 d 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.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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