Aspergillosis is a fungal infection caused by Aspergillus fumigatus it produces endotoxins which are generally responsible for the disease. It is common in the farm environment, feedmills, wood mills (wood shavings), dirty nests and agricultural fields like maize, rice and wheat fields.
Hatcheries is also be a source of Aspergillosis through decomposing hatchery or organic debris, poorly maintained gutters and unclean hatchers. High levels of aspergillosis indicate a problem with maintainance, sanitation and design of the ventilation systems. Other places for the fungus to grow is within eggs in the incubator, infected eggs can burst and release high levels of spores consequently infecting the other chicks in the incubator.
Researches have confirmed that the environment contains some harmless Aspergillus spores. Environment that has high levels spores will definitely overwhelm animal’s immune system which leads to the disease such as brooder pneumonia in day old chicks. The fungus can infect the body which often affect airways of the birds causing difficulty in breathing, blindness, twisted head and paralysis especially in day old chicks.
White/grey/yellow nodules will be seen in the birds air sacs and lungs.
There is no treatment for aspergillosis but antifungals like Itraconazole, fluconazole and nystatin can be used. Use of Copper Sulphate has also been very effective for day old chicks, it is advisable to consult veterinarian for proper treatment.
Farmers must identify the primary source of the Aspergillus spores. It is tackle it from the source to prevent reoccurence.
- Farm environment must be clean and dry;
- Feed must be kept in a clean, dust free place and neatly arranged on pallets;
- Wood shavings used for beddings must be dry and disinfected;
- Rearing pen must be thoroughly cleaned, fumigated and disinfected before restocking ;
- All farm /hatchery equipments must be thoroughly cleaned with power washer using formaldehyde and other broad spectrum disinfectants .
Prevention is better than cure, there is no treatment for Aspergillosis . Every farmer must put good biosecurity measures in place to prevent economic losses as a result of the outbreak.