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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO ANTIBIOTICS FOR CONTROLLING BACTERIAL RESPIRATORY PATHOGENS IN POULTRY

Location: Poultry Production and Products Safety Research

Title: Potential of Bacteriophage to Prevent and Treat Poultry Diseases

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

Submitted to: World Poultry Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 2008
Publication Date: June 30, 2008
Citation: Huff, W.E., Huff, G.R., Rath, N.C., Donoghue, A.M. 2008. Potential of Bacteriophage to Prevent and Treat Poultry Diseases. In: Proceedings of the 23rd World Poultry Congress, June 30 - July 4, 2008, Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. 2008 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Bacteriophage are viruses plentiful in nature that kill bacteria, and represent a potentially safe alternative to antibiotics. Bacteriophage that kill the bacteria Escherichia coli were isolated from municipal waste water treatment and poultry processing plants. This bacteria is pathogenic to poultry, causing a severe respiratory and systemic infection. Bacteriophage were used in studies designed to determine the efficacy of bacteriophage to prevent and treat the disease caused by this bacteria in poultry known as colibacillosis. Initial studies demonstrated that bacteriophage could totally protect birds from the development of this disease when the bacteria was mixed with bacteriophage prior to challenging the birds. We have shown that an aerosol spray of bacteriophage given prior to the bacteria challenge could significantly reduce mortality even when given 3 days prior to the challenge. Our research on treating colibacillosis has demonstrated that an intramuscular injection of bacteriophage given 24 or 48 h after the birds were challenged rescued the birds from this disease. Recent studies have demonstrated that immune interference of bacteriophage efficacy occurs when the same bacteriophage is used to repeatedly treat birds with this disease. Our research suggests that bacteriophage can be used to effectively prevent and treat some bacterial diseases in poultry and may provide an effective alternative to antibiotics when used selectively.

Technical Abstract: Bacteriophage are viruses plentiful in nature that kill bacteria, and represent a safe alternative to antibiotics. Bacteriophage lytic to Escherichia coli were isolated from municipal waste water treatment and poultry processing plants. This E. coli isolate is pathogenic to poultry, causing a severe respiratory and systemic infection. Bacteriophage were used in studies designed to determine the efficacy of bacteriophage to prevent and treat colibacillosis. Colibacillosis was induced by injecting 6 X 10**4 cfu into the thoracic airsac. Initial studies demonstrated that bacteriophage could totally protect birds from the development of colibacillosis when the challenge culture was mixed with bacteriophage prior to challenging. We have shown that an aerosol spray of bacteriophage given prior to E. coli challenge could significantly reduce mortality even when given 3 days prior to the challenge. Our research on treating colibacillosis has demonstrated that an intramuscular injection of bacteriophage given 24 or 48 h after the birds were challenged rescued the birds from this E. coli infection. Recent studies have demonstrated that immune interference of bacteriophage efficacy occurs when the same bacteriophage is used to repeatedly treat birds with colibacillosis. Our research suggests that bacteriophage can be used to effectively prevent and treat colibacillosis in poultry and may provide an effective alternative to antibiotics when used selectively.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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