A survey covering 90% of broiler farms in the UK's South West region has revealed a higher instance of disease than expected, highlighting the need for better disease control.

The serology survey, commissioned by Datapoul and supported by a Pfizer Poultry Health grant, found that 20% of farms tested positive for infectious bronchitis — IB 793B — and another 7% tested positive for the newer IB QX variant strain. Twenty-four percent of farms tested positive for infectious bursal disease, or Gumboro disease. “I have been quite surprised at the findings — the level of IB is a lot higher than expected and, worryingly, none of the farms with either positive or inconclusive results for Gumboro showed any clinical signs," said Richard Turner, director of Datapoul.

The solution, according to the survey, is a more aggressive vaccine treatment, including switching to stronger versions of existing vaccines in use and giving the vaccines on both day one and day 10.