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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #398819

Research Project: Strategies to Reduce Mycotoxin Contamination in Animal Feed and its Effect in Poultry Production Systems

Location: Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research

Title: Necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens: A review on the pathogen, pathogenesis, and prevention

item FATHIMA, SHAHNA - University Of Georgia
item HAKEEM, AL WAALID - University Of Georgia
item Shanmugasundaram, Revathi
item SELVARAJ, RAMESH - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: Microorganisms
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/29/2022
Publication Date: 9/30/2022
Citation: Fathima, S., Hakeem, A., Shanmugasundaram, R., Selvaraj, R. 2022. Necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens: A review on the pathogen, pathogenesis, and prevention. Microorganisms. 10(10):1958.

Interpretive Summary: The substantial economic burden and public health concerns raised by necrotic enteritis (NE) caused by Clostridium perfringens demands more research into the pathogenesis of this complex disease. Improved disease models, whole genome sequencing, toxin characterization, and in-feed mycotoxin level helped establish a greater understanding of the complex disease process. Thorough knowledge of the virulence factors and pathogenesis is necessary to construct an effective strategy for the prevention of NE. Although several alternatives available in the market reduce the impact of NE on the production performance, further research is essential to establish safety standards for the novel alternatives. Choice of ingredients while formulating poultry diet, supplementing feed enzymes, and biosecurity measures can also help to reduce the incidence and spread of NE in poultry. Some of the major predisposing factors contributing to the outbreak of NE under field conditions and recent trends of controlling necrotic enteritis are discussed in this paper.

Technical Abstract: Clostridium perfringens type A and C is the primary etiological agent associated with necrotic enteritis (NE) in poultry. The predisposing factors implicated in the incidence of NE changes the physical properties of gut, immunological status of birds, and disrupt the gut microbial homeostasis, causing an overproliferation of C. perfringens. The principal virulence factors contributing to the pathogenesis of NE are the a-toxin, ß-toxin, and Net-B toxin. The immune response to NE in poultry is mediated by the Th1 pathway or cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. C. perfringens type A and C are also pathogenic in humans and hence is of public health significance. C. perfringens intoxications are the third most common bacterial foodborne disease after Salmonella and Campylobacter. Chickens are raised under Antibiotic-free environment, it is critical to develop alternative strategies to keep the prevalence of NE under control. The control strategies rely principally on the positive modulation of host immune response, nutritional manipulation, and pathogen reduction. Current knowledge on the etiology, pathogenesis, predisposing factors, immune response, effect on the gut microbial homeostasis, and preventative strategies of NE in this post-antibiotic era are addressed in this review.