Seasonal prevalence of eimeriosis in broiler chicken


Seasonal prevalence of eimeriosis in broiler chicken

Yasir Amin*1, Asim Aslam3, Khurshaid Anwar2, Pervez1 and Zubair Ali1

Adv. life sci., vol. 1, no. 3, pp.160-164, May 2014

Corresponding Author: Dr. Yasir Amin (Email:
Author Affiliations

1- Veterinary Research & Disease Investigation Centre, Abbottabad
2- Veterinary Research Institute, Peshawar
3- Department of Pathology, University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Lahore 
 [Date Received: 09/05/2014; Date Revised: 20/05/2014; Date Published Online: 25/05/2014]

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Background: Poultry sector is a vibrant segment of Pakistan economy and is a viable source of animal origin protein source. The growth of this sector is badly affected by different devastating problem’s in-term of mortality and morbidity. Hazara region is so called Georgia of Pakistan for poultry Production. Coccidiosis is an economically devastating problem in the area and throughout the year its cases have been reported.

Methods: The present study was conducted to know round the year and seasonal prevalence of coccidiosis. During July 2012 to June 2013, a total of 1440 (n=1140) postmortem cases were carried out for disease diagnosis. Cases suspected for coccidiosis were confirmed by grass pathological lesions manifestation on the intestine and ceaca. Brief history including age, flock size was taken. For morphological examination, the oocytes were sieved and centrifuged at 3000 rpm with sugar solution.

Results: A total no of (n=1440) cases brought to outdoor patient services of Veterinary Research & Disease Investigation Centre, Abbott bad for disease diagnosis and treatment. Out of the total cases n=546 were found positive showing the overall prevalence of 37.91%.During hot and humid climatic conditions of monsoon season its prevalence was significantly high, during the month of August and September the observed infection percentage as 60.16% and 62.29 % respectively while low infection rate has been observed during the month of April which was 20.17%. Predominance of eimeriosis was high in young birds (3-4 weeks) and adult birds and less than 3 week of age birds was 74.90%, 17.94% and 7.14% respectively.

Conclusion: In present study, the higher prevalence of infection during the rainy season of monsoon observed indicating that warmth temperature and humid condition favors the oocytes sporulation and subsequent transmission.

Keywords: Poultry, Coccidiosis, Monsoon season, Abbotabad


Poultry sector is a viable source of animal protein in term of meat and egg production in Pakistan. But the tremendous growth of thesector is adversely affected by lot of viral, bacterial, protozoan and metabolic disorders. Among the protozoan diseases coccidiosis remains one of the expensive problem in-spite of intervention being made for its prevention and control through management, nutrition and chemotherapy [1].

Coccidiosis is caused by Eimeria species belongs to phylum Apicomplexa, family Eimeriidae. Eimeria species multiplication takes place in intestinal mucosa causing coccidiosis [2]. In poultry, the genus Eimeria is strictly host-specific and its different species parasitize specific sites in the intestine.The infectious process is rapid (4-7 days) and dysentery, enteritis, emaciation, drooping wings, poor growth, low production are major signs of illness [3,4] with high morbidity and mortality [5]. Its incidence is being increased in poultry due to higher stocking densities and intensive husbandry practices [6].

Nearly, 1800 Eimeria species have been reported affecting intestinal tract mucosa of different animals and birds [7] among those nine Eimeria spp has been reported affected the domestic fowl [8]. Highly pathogenic spp identified are E. tenella, E. maxima, E. brunette and E. necatrix, while E. acervulina, E. mivati and E. mitis are reported less pathogenic; and  E. hagani and E. praecox are reported as lesser pathogenic, ceacal eimeriosis caused by E. Tenella predominantly observed [9,10]. Different researchers probed into the matter of coccidiosis prevalence in different geographical regions of Pakistan [3,4]. This work is designed to expand the knowledge of the seasonal prevalence of coccidial infections among the broiler flocks.


During July 2012 to June 2013, a total of 1440 (n=1140) postmortem cases were brought to veterinary Research & Disease investigation centre, Abbottabad for disease diagnosis. Cases suspected for coccidiosis were checked for grass pathological lesions manifestation on the intestine and ceaca (Fig. 1 and 2). Brief history including age, flock size was taken. Samples were collected in sterile container and stored at 40C for subsequent use. For morphological examination, the oocytes were sieved and centrifuged at 3000 rpm with sugar solution.

[]figure 2

Figure 2








Subsequently, concentrated samples were kept in 2.5% potassium dichromate solution. Samples were kept at 300C in Biological Demand Oxygen Incubator for Sporulation and Morphological Characteristics before and after sporulation.


The results of microscopic studies of the 1440 samples are depicted in Table-2.The overall prevalence of coccidiosis in broilers round the year from July 2012 to June 2013 was 37.91% as mentioned in Table-1, and in most of the cases mixed type of infection, birds harbored by one or more Eimeria spp. Age wise prevalence of the eimeriosis is mentioned in Table-3, suggested that it was high in 3-4 weeks of broiler which was 74.90% while 17.94% was observed in birds of 4-6 weeks and 7.14% was observed in the birds less than 3 weeks of age [11]. Similar studies stated that predominance of coccidial infection is more in young age [12].

table 1, 2

Throughout the months of June to September, the infection rate was high while during month of July, August and September the prevalence of infection was 54.4%, 60.16% and 62.29% respectively. The lowest prevalence of eimeriosis was observed during the spring season and during the month of April it was 20.17%. In the present study the higher prevalence of infection during the rainy season of monsoon observed indicating that warmth temperature and humid condition favors the oocytes sporulation and subsequent transmission.

table 3


There are seven different Eimeria spp. which can cause coccidiosis. The identification of specific causative species was not the objective of the present study but to determine the prevalence of disease in distinct geographical location during special climate conditions. The prevalence of coccidiosis (37.91%) in this study is very much equal to figure found in 2003 i.e. 37.95% [13]. But if compared with studies more distant in time, this percentage is quite high. In 1990, it was as low as 26.3%, 1987 (7.23%), 1983 (30%) and in 1981 it was down to 10.2% [4]. This variation or decrease might be due to change in geographical/weather conditions as most of these studies were reported from Faisalabad regions, a district in the plains of central Punjab.

Another interesting aspect of this study was finding the fact that during the months of higher moisture and precipitation in the region (June to September), the infection rate was high up to 62.29%. In a previous investigation, it was indicated that the whole autumn season has high prevalence rate (60.02 ± 4.38) for the said infection, but here in this study higher trend of infection was witnessed till the end of September [4]. The prevalence during the moon soon was high due to warmth and moisture climatic condition favors transmission and contamination of the oocytes [14-16].

Most of the infections are caused by a mix of different Eimeria spps. Another study in somewhat same climate condition i.e. Jammu (India) has reported Eimeria tenella as a leading infectant.

Although, results of this study, in terms of age of the mostly infected birds, are not synchronized with previous studies. For example a study conducted in 2013 has reported high infection rate of 58.86% in 31-45 days old birds [17]. On the other hand, in the present settings birds of the age 21-28 days are found more susceptible to coccidiosis infection than any other age group.

The present findings on the prevalence of chicken coccidiosis in Abbottabad region are of much importance as ofeconomic and pathological aspects as very little or no documented information is available on these aspects for said area of saturated poultry industry.


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