Vaccination of chickens against coccidiosis ameliorates drug resistance in commercial poultry production.

Drug resistance is a problem wherever livestock are raised under intensive conditions and drugs are used to combat parasitic infections. This is particularly true for the anticoccidial agents used for the prevention of coccidiosis caused by protozoa of the apicomplexan genus Eimeria in poultry. Resistance has been documented for all the dozen or so drugs approved for use in chickens and varying levels of resistance is present for those currently employed. A possible solution may be the introduction of drug-sensitive parasites into the houses where poultry are raised so that they may replace such drug-resistant organisms. This can be achieved by utilizing live vaccines that contain strains of Eimeria that were isolated before most anticoccidial compounds were introduced. Such strains are inherently drug-sensitive. Practical proposals to achieve this objective involve the alternation of vaccination with medication (known as rotation programs) in successive flocks reared in the same poultry house. A proposal for a yearly broiler production cycle involving chemotherapy and vaccination is presented. There are few, if any, examples in veterinary parasitology where it has proved possible to restore sensitivity to drugs used to control a widespread parasite. Further research is necessary to ascertain whether this can result in sustainable and long-term control of Eimeria infections in poultry.
AuthorsH David Chapman, Thomas K Jeffers
JournalInternational journal for parasitology. Drugs and drug resistance (Int J Parasitol Drugs Drug Resist) Vol. 4 Issue 3 Pg. 214-7 (Dec 2014) ISSN: 2211-3207 [Electronic] England
PMID25516830 (Publication Type: Journal Article)

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