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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2011

Authors: Amin, A; Liebhart, D; Weissenböck, H; Hess, M

Title: Experimental infection of turkeys and chickens with a clonal strain of Tetratrichomonas gallinarum induces a latent infection in the absence of clinical signs and lesions.

Source: J Comp Pathol. 2011; 144(1):55-62

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Hess Michael
Liebhart Dieter
Weissenböck Herbert

Vetmed Research Units
University Clinic for Poultry and Fish Medicine, Clinical Unit of Poultry Medicine
Institute of Pathology

The pathogenicity of a mono-eukaryotic culture of Tetratrichomonas gallinarum in specific pathogen free (SPF) chickens and turkeys was studied. Two experiments of identical design were performed: the first with SPF chickens and the second with commercial turkeys. Each experiment included three groups. Groups 1 and 2 each contained 12 infected and three in-contact birds. The birds in these groups were infected on the first day of life, either cloacally (group 1) or orally (group 2). Group 3 consisted of four control birds. Re-isolation of the parasite from cloacal swabs was performed to verify the excretion of T. gallinarum. The infected birds excreted trichomonads from the second day post-infection. Spread of the flagellate from infected to in-contact birds was detected after 5 days post-infection (dpi), based on the re-isolation of the protozoa. No clinical signs or deaths were recorded in chickens or turkeys. Three birds were killed at 4, 8, 14 and 21dpi and various tissues were collected for pathological examination. No gross lesions were noted. Protozoal DNA was demonstrated in the oesophagus, duodenum, jejunum, caecum, liver, lung, bursa of Fabricius and brain by polymerase chain reaction and in-situ hybridization. No antibodies were detected in the serum of infected birds by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Microscopical changes were only present in the caecum, where there was sloughing of the epithelium associated with the presence of numerous flagellates on the epithelial surface, within the crypts of Lieberkühn and in the lamina propria. These changes were found in caecal samples from infected and in-contact birds. These studies have demonstrated the rapid transmission of T. gallinarum between both turkeys and chickens and the establishment of a latent infection in both species.

Keywords Pubmed: Animals
Disease Models, Animal
Poultry Diseases/parasitology
Poultry Diseases/pathology*
Poultry Diseases/transmission
Protozoan Infections, Animal/parasitology
Protozoan Infections, Animal/pathology*
Protozoan Infections, Animal/transmission

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