Occurrence and identification of Emeria species in broiler rearing under traditional system
© Shamim et al. 2015
Received: 2 June 2015
Accepted: 16 November 2015
Published: 1 December 2015
The present study was intended to determine the prevalence and identification of species involved causing coccidiosis in broilers rearing under traditional farming system in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. For the current study, a convenient sampling technique was carried out. A total of 7814 broilers (aged 1 to 6 weeks) were submitted to the Disease Diagnostic Laboratory of Livestock and Animal husbandry Department Mirpur, Azad Kashmir.
From the total screened, 750 were found positive for coccidiosis representing an overall prevalence of 9.59 %. Age-wise highest prevalence (10.88 %) recorded in the middle age birds (0 to 3 week old) were found more susceptible to infection than those aged above 3 weeks. Higher prevalence (12.49 %) of coccidiosis in broilers was observed in spring as compared with 6.60 % in summer season. In this study two main coccidiosis causing species, Emeria tenella and Emeria maxima were identified on the basis of their morphological feature and habitat (caeca and intestine), However, E. tenella was dominant compared to E. maxima.
The study provides an insight to the occurrence of Emeria species which must be taken into consideration when rearing the broilers.
Coccidiosis, considered as a frequent and significant disease of poultry in general and in broiler specifically caused by the Apicomplexan protozoan parasites of the genus Eimeria (E) which lives and replicates in gut mucosa of broiler . These are the main species that cause coccidiosis in broiler with varying degree of pathogenicity viz: E. tenella, E. maxima, E. necatrix, and E. acervulina dispersed globally .
Coccidiosis happened in two forms that are clinical, characterized by bloody diarrhoea, emaciation, drooping wings, stunted growth, pale comb, reduced production , with high mortality and morbidity rate , and subclinical it may render chickens immunocompromised thus providing opportunity for secondary infections . It is considered as one of the expensive  and profit reducing disease as it impacts economy of production as reported in United States where it causes an annual loss of US$ 127 million .
The incidence of coccidiosis in marketable poultry (broiler) can range from 5 to 70 % , due to higher stocking densities  and improper managment practices  although much progress in medication and management has been employed. Furthermore, various factors such as daily shift in environmental temperature and the development of resistance against commonly available anticoccidial agents used for medication of coccidial infection contribute to higher prevalence of coccidiosis in poultry industry. Therefore, it is needed to plan the prevalence surveys to describe and quantify the disease burden in broilers in specific area. The present study was intended to determine the prevalence and identification of species involved causing coccidiosis in broilers rearing under traditional managmental farming system in district Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan.
The present study was carried out at District Disease Diagnostic Laboratory Department of Livestock and Animal Husbandry Mirpur, Azad Kashmir that is situated at 33.11° and 33.34° latitude and 73.31° and 73.55° longitudes and 459 m above the sea levels. It has hot climate with an average maximum temperature of 40 °C. Topographically, district Mirpur consist of stretches of plains and small mud made peaks.
The present study was conducted from January to December, 2011. For the current study, convenient sampling technique was applied. All the birds, which were submitted to the disease investigating laboratory (Department of livestock and animal husbandry) for diagnosis of different infections/diseases were examined. Moreover, all the mandatory information about numbers of birds reared, their age, dimensions of the farms, managmental condition, vaccination schedule, feed and medicine used, morbidity and mortality rate was noted on the pre-designed questionaire. All the procedures to conduct this research were carried out in the light of guidelines of National Chicken Council  for broilers.
Clinical and post mortem examination
The birds, which were directly brought to the laboratory and/or collected from the farms for diagnosis of diseases were observed through clinical and postmortem examination. For this purpose, entire gut of the collected broiler chickens was keenly observed for the manifestation of gross lesions and haemorrhages.
Gut contents were also examined through the direct smear method , for the presence and identification of oocysts of coccidian species based on their morphology and location in the gut . The frequency of coccidiosis in broiler was recorded by microscopic examination.
For the calculation of prevalence of coccidiosis in broiler data were analysed using statistical software package. Association among risk factors/variables associated with coccidiosis was determined by calculating odds ratio and P-values. It is considered statistically significant if the P-value less than 0.05 and confidence interval (CI) 95 %.
Comparison of variables/risk factors associated with the occurrence of coccidiosis in broiler farms in district Mirpur, Azad Kashmir
Birds screened (N)
Prevalence (%) (n/N × 100)
95 % C.I
Odds ratio (OR)
Age of Birds
On the basis of results, it was concluded that coccidiosis causing species exist in the area with lower prevalence. Therefore, broiler farmers must be careful about the disease and its causative agents.
We acknowledge the support of our colleagues, farmers, field and lab staff to fulfil this study.
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