Government and academic researchers at Mississippi State University have found that, even within a single tunnel-ventilated poultry house, the agent Mycoplasma gallisepticum was unable to be transmitted even a short distance down-airstream to spread infection. 

The research should help settle the worries of turkey producers in particular, who worry about the possibility of the airborne transmission of the common bacterial agent for infectious sinusitis to their flocks from nearby poultry operations. “Because turkeys are more susceptible to MG infection than chickens, this has led to some concern among turkey growers that their birds could become infected by strains of the disease that might be carried from broiler and layer farms in their vicinity,” said Dr. Joseph Purswell, the article’s lead author and a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service at Mississippi State. “Our work strongly suggests that this is a highly unlikely possibility.”

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The researchers’ objective was to compare transmission of uncharacterized layer complex-derived Mycoplasma gallisepticum strains with commercially available, live F-strain Mycoplasma gallisepticum vaccine among poultry species in tunnel-ventilated housing. At the end of the 106-day trial period, the researchers found that neither the commercial FMG vaccine strain nor the LCD-MG strains were transmitted beyond the pens containing the inoculated turkeys. According to Purswell, the results of the study “support the notion that the F strain of MG is no more transmissible than other endemic field strains of MG.”