Submitted to: Annual Vaccines & Therapeutics Summit
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/5/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Poultry meat consumption has increased globally by 50% since 2000, accounting for greater than 100 million tons in 2012. Multiple challenges confront the rising demand for poultry food products, including governmental restrictions on the use of antibiotic growth promoters and novel feedstuffs, high-density production conditions, waste management, and the emergence of infectious pathogens, particularly those that cause intestinal diseases. There is little doubt that in-feed antibiotics has dramatically increased the efficiency of commercial poultry production over the last 50 years. However, antibiotic usage in chickens has raised consumer concerns regarding chemical residues in the poultry products that they consume, and has directly led to the appearance of drug resistance among avian pathogens that has the potential to be transferred to microorganisms that infect humans. Much interest, therefore, has focused on the development of alternative, antibiotic-free methods of commercial poultry production. These newer disease control strategies can be broadly classified into those that are directly cytotoxic against infectious agents, including hyperimmune antibodies, antimicrobial peptides, and bacteriophages, and those that augment host immunity, including phytochemicals, adjuvants, and next-generation vaccines. Additionally, identification of new chicken genetic markers opens the door for the development of novel chicken breeds with increased resistance to infectious diseases through gene modifications and DNA-based selection strategies. This presentation will address alternatives to antibiotics in the context of avian coccidiosis, a prototypical intestinal disease of chickens. First, the biology of Eimeria, the causative agent of coccidiosis, is briefly reviewed, followed by a summary of the chicken immune response to Eimeria infection, and finally an appraisal of recent advances in nontraditional coccidiosis control strategies.