Poultry coryza, a highly contagious respiratory disease, poses a significant threat to the poultry industry in Kenya, highlighting the importance of effective disease management strategies. Characterized by severe respiratory symptoms and decreased egg production, coryza can inflict substantial economic losses on poultry farmers if left unchecked. With Kenya’s burgeoning poultry sector playing a vital role in the country’s economy and food security, combating coryza emerges as a critical priority for safeguarding the industry’s sustainability and resilience.

Poultry Coryza

The impact of poultry coryza extends beyond individual farms, with potential repercussions for the entire poultry value chain. Outbreaks of the disease can disrupt supply chains, leading to shortages of poultry products in local markets and compromising food security. Moreover, the loss of valuable breeding stock due to coryza can hamper efforts to improve poultry genetics and enhance productivity, hindering the industry’s long-term growth prospects.

Chickens with this infectious disease will have what appears to be an upper respiratory infection. The good news is that this acute respiratory disease of chickens can be treated, and most birds will recover. However, older birds or those with weaker immune systems may not be so lucky.

It is caused by the bacterium avibacterium paragallinarum, once known as haemophilus paragallinarum. It appears as a severe cold but can affect your farm’s sustainability and egg profitability.

It affects chickens worldwide, Chickens of all ages can get coryza but become more susceptible with age. The incubation period (the time between exposure to when systems and signs show) is one to three days, with the disease lasting for two to three weeks.

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Coryza in chickens is caused by bacteria that can be spread from bird to bird. Carrier birds with this bacteria spread the disease through direct contact with other birds, airborne droplets, and contaminated feed or drinking water. Transmission cannot occur via eggs, so if an infected bird lays an egg, it won’t have the disease. However, chickens with this disease will likely have decreased egg production.

Some of the clinical signs that a chicken has coryza include:

  • Decreased activity
  • Foul-smelling nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Facial swelling
  • Watery eyes
  • Diarrhea

In mild forms of the disease, it may be hard to spot the signs. The facial swelling may only be slight, and the chickens may not be as active as normal. However, as the disease progresses, one or both infraorbital sinuses will continue to swell, preventing the eyes from opening completely. In adult birds, especially males, the swelling may spread to the jaw and wattles and last for 10 to 14 days.

How Do You Treat Poultry Coryza?

If bacterial cultures come back positive for coryza or you highly suspect your flock may have the disease, you must isolate the infected chickens. Some farming operations choose to move all the chickens of the same age out to isolation so that they can all be exposed to the pathogen and develop some resistance to it. In the meantime, the facilities are deep-cleaned and disinfected before new, healthy birds are introduced to the environment.

It would help if you immediately administered antibiotics, such as erythromycin and oxytetracycline, can help treat infectious coryza in chickens.

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If you spot coryza in chickens early enough, you may be able to get rid of the disease with antibiotics, as mentioned above. However, it’s best to begin the isolation and identification of the disease early to not spread it further on your farm. If you do not isolate and treat the disease in the chickens, it will continue spreading until your entire flock is infected.

The mortality rate is around 20% in most flocks. For older chickens, ones with compromised immunity, or ones with another type of infection, coryza can be deadly.

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