Oocyst output and transmission rates during successive infections with Eimeria acervulina in experimental broiler flocks

F.C. Velkers, A. Bouma, J.A. Stegeman, M.C.M. de Jong

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The infection dynamics of Eimeria species determine the clinical manifestation of the disease coccidiosis in poultry flocks, and a better understanding of the dynamics may contribute to improvement of control measures. Our aim was to study the course of infection and the transmission of Eimeria acervulina in groups of broilers by quantifying the transmission rate parameter and oocyst output. Three transmission experiments were carried out with groups of 20 male SPF broilers. At 2 days of age, one bird in each trial was orally inoculated with five sporulated E. acervulina oocysts (DO post-inoculation, pi). One day after inoculation (D1 pi), the inoculated bird was housed with 19 non-inoculated contact birds. Individual faecal droppings were examined daily from D3-D32 pi to quantify the number of oocysts per gram faeces. The inoculated bird started shedding oocysts at D5 pi and contact birds between D10 and D17 pi. Contact birds that became infected due to oocyst excretion by the inoculated bird were characterized as first generation contact birds (C1). Contact birds excreting from D15 pi onwards (C2) became infected after the first Cl birds had started shedding and were considered to belong to a successive generation of the flock infection. Oocyst output was significantly lower for C1 compared to C2 birds, but the transmission rate parameter remained constant for both infection generations. These results suggest that although oocyst load increases, the transmission rate of E. acervulina remains constant between successive generations of infection in a flock.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-71
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • protozoan parasite
  • dynamics
  • coccidiosis
  • sporulation
  • model
  • quantification
  • vaccination
  • vaccines
  • immunity
  • poultry

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