By Fabian Brockötter
Aspergillosis (brooder pneumonia) has its name because the disease results in pneumonia in young chicks, which are reared under brooders. Occurs everywhere poultry are reared.
Species affected: All. Age affected: Mainly seen in young birds.
Causes: Aspergillus fumigatus, A. flavus, and A. niger.
Effects: Mainly respiratory system, but fungi can spread to other parts of the body. Signs include respiratory distress (dyspnea and gasping), central nervous dysfunction (tremors, ataxia, and torticollis), somnolence (sleepy), inappetence, and emaciation (very thin).
Aspergillus fumigatus, A. flavus, and A. niger. Fungus has conidiophores which are smooth, colorless to light green near the vesicle. The conidiophore enlarges to form a flask‑shaped vesicle. Conidiophore contains globase vesicles, phialides and radiate chains of conidia. Fungi can be isolated on artificial media and are inhibited by some antibiotics.
Mode of Transmission
It spreads by aerosol of spores, which are common in the hatchery. Spreads less commonly by contaminated dust and litter in the house.
Signs include respiratory distress (dyspnea and gasping), central nervous dysfunction (tremors, ataxia, and torticollis), somnolence (sleepy), inappetence, and emaciation (very thin). Conjunctivitis, high mortality, and cloudy eyes can be seen.
Yellowish‑green or whitish, caseous (cheesy) nodules and/or green, fur‑like down in mouth, palate, lungs, syrinx, viscera, air sacs, brain and eyes may be seen.
Fungus can be identified microscopically (20% KOH stain) from culture or special stain of tissues (Hyphae, Mycelia, Conidiophores). Isolation of culture in 48 hours on Sabouraud dextrose agar is diagnostic. Lactophenol cotton blue staining of colony to see conidophores.
Prevention & Treatment
Hatchery sanitation includes regular fumigation of eggs, machines and air ducts and regular (monthly) plating of hatchery with media to examine for the presence of fungi. Use clean dry litter and dry cups or nipples to reduce water spills. Antifungals in the feed or water.