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University of duhok

college of veterinary

Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG),

chronic respiratory disease (CRD),
infectious sinusitis,mycoplasmosis
In poultry

Jivan Q. amad
Chronic respiratory disease (CRD) is one of the
most common respiratory diseases of poultry .
The disease occurs when birds infected with
Mycoplasma gallisepticum are stressed. The
subsequent invasion by secondary bacteria
causes the major damage to the bird.
The microorganisms of the class Mollicutes
(Mycoplasma) were first identified in 1898 as
the etiologic agent of the bovine contagious
pleuropneumonia (BCPP) and thereafter, all
similar agents were named pleuropneumonia-
like (PPLO-like) organisms
Avian mycoplasmosis can be caused by several
species of Mycoplasma (class Mollicutes, order
Mycoplasmatales, family Mycoplasmataceae)
including Mycoplasma gallisepticum, M. synoviae,
M. meleagridis and M. iowae. M. gallisepticum is
the most important pathogen in poultry. It also
causes disease in other avian species. M.
gallisepticum infections are also known aschronic
respiratory disease (CRD) of chickens, infectious
sinusitis of turkeys and house finch conjunctivitis.
Several strains of M. gallisepticum have been
reported, including the R (poultry), P (psittacine)
and house finch strains. Strains may vary greatly
in their pathogenicity for different species of
birds. In one study, budgerigars developed severe
disease after experimental infection with the R
strain of M. gallisepticum but not the house finch
Mycoplasma gallisepticum is the most
economically significant mycoplasmal
pathogen of poultry. M. gallisepticum
infections can cause significant economic
losses on poultry farms from chronic
respiratory disease, reduced feed efficiency,
decreased growth and decreased egg
production. The carcasses of birds sent to
slaughter may also be downgraded. M.
gallisepticum infections are notifiable to the
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
This organism has been eradicated from
most commercial chicken and turkey
breeding flocks in the United States;
however, it remains endemic in many other
poultry operations.
Mycoplasma gallisepticum + chronic
stress factor + secondary coliform
organisms cause respiratory disease
Species susceptible Chickens, turkeys,
pigeons, ducks,Peafowl and passerine
Very widespread and present in most, if
not all commercial flocks. Each batch of
new pullets will become infected.
Egg Transmission - of major importance and the
means by which the disease perpetuates itself.
Airborne (aerosol) - generally rapid, but does not
travel distances.
Indirect or mechanical - the major means of entry
of CRD is by the introduction of infected carrier
birds or transport by persons such as service
personnel, vaccinators and blood testers. The
risk is great when people handle CRD-free birds
on the same day after handling CRD-infected
birds. Transfer can also occur on equipment
(crates, vehicles, and vaccinating equipment).
Incubation Period
Experimentally infected poultry
develop symptoms after 6 to 21
days. In natural infections, the
incubation period is variable;
infected birds may be asymptomatic
for days or months until stressed. In
finches, incubation periods from 4 to
14 days have been reported.
Clinical signs

In Layers / Breeders
• Nasal and ocular discharge, (watery eyes) rattling in the
wind pipes, coughing, gasping (dyspnea), sneezing and
shaking of the hed.
• Feed consumption drops off leading to decreased egg
production and loss of weight.
• Male birds frequently have the most prominent signs.
• Reduced hatchability and chick viability.
• Occassional encephalopathy and abnormal feathers
In Broilers
• Most outbreaks occur between 3rd and 6th weeks ofage.
• Poor feed conversion, sharp decline in weight gain.
• Slow growth
• Leg problems
• Morbidity rate fairly high but not great mortality.
• Poor carcass quality, high contamination rate. Thin and
weak birds with razor-blade breasts.
In Turkeys
There are two forms of this disease in the turkey.
With the
“upper form” the birds have watery eyes and
nostrils, the infraorbitals (just below the eye)
become swollen, and the exudate becomes
caseous and firm. The birds have respiratory rales
and show unthriftiness. With the
“lower form” infected turkeys develop airsacculitis.
As with chickens, birds can show no outward
signs if the infection is uncomplicated. Thus, the
condition may go unnoticed until the birds are
slaughtered and the typical legions are seen.
Birds with airsacculitis are condemned,
Production is lower in infected flocks, decreased
weight gain, feed efficiency and egg production.
Post Mortem Lesions
In uncomplicated cases in chickens, the lesions typically
include mild sinusitis, tracheitis and airsacculitis. If
the chicken is infected concurrently with E. coli,
thickening and turbidity of the air sacs, exudative
accumulations, fibrinopurulent pericarditis and
perihepatitis may be seen. In turkeys, severe
mucopurulent sinusitis may be found, with variably
severe tracheitis and airsacculitis. Lesions reported in
naturally infected chukar partridges and pheasants
include conjunctivitis and sinusitis of one or both
infraorbital sinuses. Finches typically exhibit mild to
severe inflammation in one or both eyes and the
periorbital region. The eyelids may be swollen and
inflamed, and a clear to cloudy, thickened ocular
discharge may be noted. There may also be drainage
from the nares.
Chronic Respiratory Disease. Cloudy appearance of
.the abdominal air sacs in this 7 week old chicken
Morbidity and Mortality
In chickens with uncomplicated infections, the
morbidity rate is high and the mortality rate low;
however, more severe disease occurs if the birds
are concurrently infected with other viruses or
bacteria. Mortality rates can be high in turkeys.
In wild songbirds, the impact of the disease is
complicated by other factors. Under controlled
experimental conditions, house finches exhibited
morbidity rates approaching 100%, but low
mortality rates of approximately 5% or less.
Clinical signs
Pm lesions
Isolation and identification of the causative agent.
Laboratory tests
• Isolation and identification of the causative agent
• indirect immunofluorescence
• immunoperoxidase staining
• a growth inhibition test
• metabolism inhibition or PCR
• Animal inoculation
• rapid serum agglutination (RSA) test
• enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs)
• hemagglutination inhibition.
• Disinfect the farm and equipments with right
• tetracyclines (oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline and
doxycycline), macrolides (erythromycin, tylosin,
spiramycin, lincomycin, and kitasamycin), quinolones
(imequil, norfloxacin, enrofloxacin and danofloxacin) or
tiamulin. Drugs that accumulate in high concentrations
in the mucosal membranes of the respiratory and
genitourinary tracts, such as tiamulin and enrofloxacin
• If the mycoplasmosis is clubbed with other bacterial
infections like E.coli administer Neomycin and
Doxycycline through drinking water in addition to the
above treatment for 3 to 5 days.
For Chicks
• Chicks arrived from known infected parent flocks
should be treated with a suitable antibiotic during the
first 48 hours after placement and then subsequently at
20 - 24 days for 24 to 48 hours period.
• Efforts should be made to reduce dust and secondary
infections. Improve the ventiliation for having good
results of medicine.
• Establishment of Mycoplasma free breeding flocks.
• Treating infected hatching eggs with the antibiotic Tylosin
to kill the organism contained in the eggs.
• Before purchasing chicks from a hatchery, it should be
confirmed that they are free from CRD.
• Chicks should be raised at the place where there is no
approach of infected birds.
• Complete fencing of the breeding farms and sufficient
isolation of prevent iarborne infections from infected flocks.
• Disposing of dead birds by incineratin, deep burial or by
means of special disposal pits.
• Using vaccines that are free from contamination of
Mycoplasma gallisepticum.
• Construction of the houses must be done in such a way
that probibit the entrance of any type of wild birds and
wandering animals.
• Prohibition of visitors in the farm.
• Before coming in contact with flocks, workmen should
take shower and put on special clothes.
Vaccination - pullets reared in isolation can be vaccinated to
prevent infection with Mycoplasma gallisepticum. Suppliers
of point of lay pullets can provide vaccinated pullets.
Management - house infected and uninfected flocks at least
50 to l00 m apart. Prevent the disease spreading by
adopting basic principles of isolation and all-in, all-out
management and buy vaccinated pullets.
Differential diagnosis
In poultry, the differential diagnosis includes respiratory
diseases such as infectious bronchitis, mild Newcastle
disease and avian influenza. Hemophilus paragallinarum,
Pasteurella multocida and Mycoplasma synoviae infections
should also be ruled out. In turkeys, other pathogens to
consider include avian pneumovirus, Pasteurella multocida,
Chlamydia and M. synoviae. Mixed infections with M.
gallisepticum and other organisms can occur.
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