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Forskningsartikel2023Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Questionnaire study suggests grave consequences of infectious laryngotracheitis, infectious coryza and mycoplasmosis in small chicken flocks

Etterlin, Pernille Engelsen; Comin, Arianna; Eriksson, Helena; Bagge, Elisabeth; Jinnerot, Tomas; Jonare, Liv; Jansson, Desiree S.


BackgroundA growing number of people in western countries keep small chicken flocks. In Sweden, respiratory disease is a common necropsy finding in chickens from such flocks. A respiratory real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) panel was applied to detect infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV), Avibacterium paragallinarum (A. paragallinarum) and Mycoplasma gallisepticum (M. gallisepticum) in chickens from small flocks which underwent necropsy in 2017-2019 and had respiratory lesions. Owners (N = 100) of PCR-positive flocks were invited to reply to a web-based questionnaire about husbandry, outbreak characteristics and management.ResultsResponse rate was 61.0%. The flocks were from 18 out of Sweden's 21 counties indicating that respiratory infections in small chicken flocks are geographically widespread in Sweden. Among participating flocks, 77.0% were coinfected by 2-3 pathogens; 91.8% tested positive for A. paragallinarum, 57.4% for M. gallisepticum and 50.8% for ILTV. Larger flock size and mixed-species flock structure were associated with PCR detection of M. gallisepticum (P = 0.00 and P = 0.02, respectively). Up to 50% mortality was reported by 63.9% of respondents. Euthanasia of some chickens was carried out in 86.9% of the flocks as a result of the outbreaks. Full clinical recovery was reported by 39.3% of owners suggesting chronic infection is a major challenge in infected flocks. Live birds had been introduced in many flocks prior to outbreaks, which suggested these as an important source of infection. Following the outbreaks, 36.1% replaced their flocks with new birds and 9.8% ceased keeping chickens.ConclusionsThis study highlights the severity of respiratory outbreaks in small non-commercial chicken flocks and points to the need for more research and veterinary assistance to prevent and manage respiratory infections in small chicken flocks.


Backyard poultry; Hobby flocks; Infectious coryza; Infectious laryngotracheitis; Molecular diagnostics; Mycoplasmosis; Respiratory infection

Publicerad i

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2023, Volym: 65, nummer: 1, artikelnummer: 39
Utgivare: BMC