Written by: Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky
Infectious bronchitis (IB), also referred to simply as bronchitis or a cold, is a virus that affects chickens. A similar disease can affect bobwhite quail (quail bronchitis), but it is caused by a different virus.
Infectious bronchitis is highly contagious and can spread quickly through a flock. The virus is spread through the air and on feed bags, infected dead birds, and rodents. The virus can also be transmitted through the egg to developing embryos, but an affected embryo typically does not hatch.
The severity of infection is influenced by the age and immune status of the flock, by environmental conditions, and by the presence of other diseases in the flock. The list that follows describes some of the signs of infectious bronchitis:
There is no specific treatment for infectious bronchitis. Administering antibiotics for three to five days may aid in fighting off any secondary bacterial infections. For brooding chicks, it is helpful to raise the room temperature 5°F until symptoms go away.
An effective biosecurity program is the best method of preventing infectious bronchitis. Such a plan should include rodent control. Vaccinations are available.
The infectious bronchitis (IB) information site. Intervet, Schering-Plough Animal Health.
Infectious bronchitis virus: Classical and variant strains. Gary Butcher, David Shapiro, and Richard Miles, University of Florida.