The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the USPOULTRY Foundation have completed a funded research project at North Carolina State University on the development of Enterococcal Spondylitis and methods to re-create it in a laboratory, which will aid in the development of therapeutic and preventative control measures for this emerging disease.
Enterococcal Spondylitis is a disease of broiler breeders, isolated in flocks in North Carolina, which causes significant mortality, according to the research. Enterococcus cecorum has been found in spinal abscesses of infected flocks, and similar sporadic spinal abscesses can be caused by other bacteria, including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Objectives of the study were:
- to develop an experimental model for Enterococcal Spondylitis using E. cecorum, with and without coccidia challenge, to study possible risk factors (e.g., nutrition, infectious agents, genetics and management practices)
- to examine the role of coccidia infection
- to determine the development (pathogenesis) of Enterococcal Spondylitis
Enterococcal Spondylitis caused by E. cecorum was experimentally reproduced under controlled laboratory conditions. However, the disease was observed in only one of 16 birds when challenged with both E. cecorum and coccidia. This research will aid in development of therapeutic and preventative control measures for this emerging disease, according to the researchers.