Colibacillosis of poultry
Colibacillosis is an important disease among poultry, especially among broiler chicks aged 6-9 weeks and less frequently of young chicks during first 2 weeks of life. It may be either an acute generalized infection which may be fatal, or chronic, debilitating infection. Mortality rate is usually 5% or sometimes higher. Death of some birds takes place quickly, while in others there may be loss of appetite, respiratory distress, diarrhoea and weakness. The characteristic lesion is pericarditis, inflammation of air sacs, and congested liver. In younger birds caeca may be filled with caseous material.
The clinical history, symptoms and lesions are suggestive of colibacillosis. Confirmation is made by the isolation of Escherichia coli from visceral organs. High standards of cleanliness, disinfection of premises and utensils between each batch of chicks reduce the disease outbreaks. Overcrowding of chicks should be avoided. Proper ventilation is essential. The use of antibiotics increases the problem of drug-resistant strains.