Bordetellosis in Poultry

Small and Backyard Flocks May 05, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Written by: Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky

Bordetellosis, also known as turkey coryza or turkey rhinotracheitis, is an upper respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella avium. This disease affects turkeys and, rarely, broilers.

The infection can be transmitted from bird to bird within a flock. Transfer of the disease between flocks typically occurs as a result of human activity, but it can also result from contaminated drinking water, feed, or litter.

Clinical Signs

Indications of infection typically appear when poults (young turkeys) are two to six weeks of age. Infected birds sneeze with a clear, watery discharge, breathe with mouths open, and have tracheal rales, altered vocalizations, and swollen eyes that appear foamy and/or watery.


This disease can be treated with antibiotics.

Prevention and Control

If your flock experiences an outbreak of bordetellosis, it is recommended that you clean and disinfect the waterers and chlorinate the water. Improved sanitation and biosecurity are important aspects of disease prevention.

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