Respiratory pathogens are difficult to control in large-scale turkey production. This report describes a clinical trial of antimicrobial OVOTRANSFERRIN aerosol on a large Belgian turkey farm. ovoTF was administered to reduce Chlamydia psittaci (C. psittaci) infections and to study the impact of this action on the occurrence of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (O. rhinotracheale) and avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) infections. Two subsequent broods were included; (i) a control brood receiving no ovoTF and (ii) an ovoTF brood receiving ovoTF aerosol (5mg/animal) at the age of 2 weeks, continuing daily for 12 days. Twenty-four one-day-old toms of the control and ovoTF brood were tagged and monitored for 15 weeks. The control brood experienced two periods of respiratory disease, the first (2-3 weeks of age) due to C. psittaci and the second (8-17 weeks of age) in the presence of C. psittaci, O. rhinotracheale and maybe aMPV. Extensive antibiotic treatment was needed in 2, 8 and 9 week-old toms. In the ovoTF brood, toms stayed healthy until the age of 9 weeks, whereafter respiratory disease occurred in the presence of C. psittaci, O rhinotracheale and aMPV. OvoTF administration: (i) reduced the amount of C. psittaci in the air as demonstrated by bioaerosol monitoring, (ii) prevented respiratory disease during the first half of the brood period, (iii) was associated with 46% reduction of mortality, and (iv) reduced the antibiotic cost. Our results justify additional clinical trials to explore the use of this innovative antimicrobial strategy for poultry.
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