Written by: Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky
Fowl typhoid is a disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella gallinarium. Poultry are natural hosts for this bacterium. Although the incidence of fowl typhoid in the United States and Canada is relatively low, it can be high in other countries.
Fowl typhoid can be introduced into a flock by wild birds, mammals, and flies. Within a flock, fowl typhoid is spread by bird-to-bird contact as well as through cannibalism of infected carcasses, wound contamination, and fecal contamination of feed, water, and litter. In addition, the bacteria can spread to chicks in the egg, as when eggs come from a contaminated hatchery.
As with pullorum disease, chicks hatched from eggs infected with Salmonella gallinarium sicken and die within weeks of hatching. Infected chicks exhibit weakness, poor appetite, and stunted growth, and they may make shrill chirping and peeping sounds. In addition, their droppings are chalky white. Signs of this disease may not appear for the first five to ten days after infection. However, unlike pullorum disease, fowl typhoid has a tendency to affect growing or mature birds. Mortality in young birds is similar to that of pullorum disease, but it can be higher in older birds.
Treatment is not feasible. Recovered birds have a tendency to become carriers. It is best to depopulate a flock that tests positive for Salmonella gallinarium.
To prevent fowl typhoid, obtain your birds or hatching eggs from a hatchery participating in the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP). Do not mix NPIP-certified flocks with noncertified birds. Maintain a rigorous biosecurity program.
NOTE Fowl typhoid is a reportable disease. If you suspect your flock has this disease, contact your state veterinarian.
Pullorum disease and fowl typhoid. Tina Savage, University of New Hampshire, and Michael Darre, University of Connecticut.
Fowl typhoid and pullorum disease. The Center for Food Security and Public Health and the Institute for International Cooperation in Animal Biologics, Iowa State University.
Merck Veterinary Manual. Merck.