Avian Mycoplasmosis

Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery November 04, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Avian Mycoplasmosis is a highly contagious disease of chickens and turkeys caused by the Mycoplasma gallisepticum bacteria. The disease can spread rapidly through a flock by inhalation of airborne droplets expelled by coughing or sneezing poultry. The bacteria may also be spread by contaminated equipment or clothing. Although the disease is not typically fatal, Mycoplasmosis causes significant economic losses from chronic respiratory disease in the birds leading to poor production. Furthermore, concurrent infection with E. coli can lead to airsacculitis (respiratory infection involving the air sacs) and downgrading of the carcass at slaughter.


The United States currently has a surveillance and eradication program in place for M. gallisepticum.

 

Endemic Areas

M. gallisepticum bacteria are found worldwide.

 

Clinical Signs

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decreased egg production

 

Treatment

Although the disease may be treated with antibiotics, birds infected with Mycoplasmosis are carriers for life. Any bird suspected of having Mycoplasmosis should be reported to the State Veterinarians or USDA Area Veterinarian in Charge immediately.

 

Prevention

Vaccine is available in the United States but may only be used under strict veterinary supervision. The disease may be prevented from entering the flock by purchasing Mycoplasmosis-free birds and following USDA-APHIS Biosecurity for the Birds program.

 

Public Health

Avian Mycoplasmosis is not a public health threat.

 

Links

Avian Mycoplasmosis -Iowa State University

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.