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Mycoplasma synoviae demanding more attention as poultry industry grasps its full impact

1 March 2019, at 12:00a.m.

Emerging, variant strains of Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) are causing eggshell apex abnormalities as well as production drops in both layer and breeding flocks worldwide, Anneke Feberwee, DVM, PhD, from GD Animal Health, the Netherlands, told Poultry Health Today.

With the exception of primary breeding stock, MS is not yet under control and its economic relevance is finally becoming clear, presenting a new challenge for the industry, she said during the International Avian Respiratory Disease Conference.

The better known and better controlled Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) causes respiratory disease in broilers, layers and turkeys, and often leads to airsacculitis, mortality and condemnations, Feberwee said.

Both MS and MG can act synergistically with other respiratory tract pathogens, she noted.

Control measures for both species are based on the prevention or reduction of vertical and horizontal transmission. This means strict biosecurity and vaccination, and preventing direct contact between commercial chickens and wild birds, Feberwee said. She noted that although survival of MS and MG outside the host is relatively short, both pathogens can survive for months in egg debris.

Vaccination to reduce clinical signs of the disease has become common practice in many parts of the world. Recent research demonstrates that vaccination helps reduce shedding and horizontal transmission of both MS and MG, Feberwee said.

She emphasised that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing must be used to monitor field infections in vaccinated flocks. Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals - DIVA - testing will become more important to monitor progression in mycoplasma control, she predicted.

To see the video interview, click here

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2007-2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in the global poultry industry and agri-food chain.

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