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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Research Project #442613

Research Project: Developing a Basis for Control Strategies Against Histomoniasis in Poultry

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-32000-118-001-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 8, 2022
End Date: Aug 7, 2023

Objective:
The overall objective of this project is to collaborate with experts in the field of histomoniasis research. In a collaborative agreement, both parties will gain a greater understanding of the biology and epidemiology of the protozoan Histomonas meleagridis and the cecal worm Heterakis gallinarum, which will provide a basis for developing control strategies against histomoniasis in poultry. Objective 1: Harness genetics, genomics, and electron microscopy to better define the epidemiology of Heterakis and Histomonas to inform mitigation strategies. Objective 2: Identify targets for pharmacological, phytochemical, or immunological interventions that could be developed into disease preventives and therapeutics. Objective 3: Evaluate mitigation strategies for their potential to prevent horizontal transmission of Histomonas meleagridis in commercial turkeys.

Approach:
Using light microscopy and electron microscopy, identify the predominant forms of Histomonas in litter- cysts, trophozoites, or flagellates inside Heterakis. Characterize how long Histomonas cysts or Heterakis eggs are viable in typical litter. Obtain the DNA sequence of different Histomonas strains to see if there are any genes associated with increased virulence. Develop rapid methods for identifying Histomonas in litter to inform growers whether to place poults or do a complete house clean-out. Test the efficacy of anti-protozoal drugs (nicarbazin, clopidol, diclazuril, zoalene, decoquinate) against Histomonas. Test the efficacy of irradiated Histomonas to induce immunity against histomoniasis.