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Interaction of Marek's disease virus and Cryptosporidium baileyi in experimentally infected chickens



Interaction of Marek's disease virus and Cryptosporidium baileyi in experimentally infected chickens



Avian Diseases 44(4): 776-789



Histocompatible B13/B13 white specific-pathogen-free leghorn chickens were used to investigate the effect of coinfection with Cryptosporidium baileyi and the HPRS 16 strain of Marek's disease virus (MDV) in chickens and to assess the pathogenicity of C. baileyi when MDV is given before or after the parasite. Groups of chickens concurrently infected with C. baileyi orally inoculated at day (D)4 and MDV inoculated at hatching (C4M0 group) or at D8 (C4M8 group) were compared with relevant control groups inoculated with only C. baileyi at D4 (C4 group), only MDV at hatching (M0 group) or at D8 (M8 group), and an uninoculated control group (UC group). The chickens were kept in isolator units until the end of the experiment at D62. Our results showed a considerable synergistic effect in concurrently infected chickens and more severe consequences when chickens received MDV before C. baileyi infection. In fact, except for a slight transitory weakness, the chickens in C4 group remained free of overt clinical signs and there was no mortality. However, coinfection with both pathogens induced more lasting or permanent oocyst shedding. Severe clinical cryptosporidiosis with weakness, anorexia, depression, growth retardation, and chronic and severe respiratory disease causing death occurred in all chickens in the C4M0 group between D12 and D43 and in 67% of the chickens in the C4M8 group between D17 and D57. Eighty-two percent and 33%, respectively, died before the development of specific Marek's disease lesions. Mortality rates were 27% and 33% in the M0 and M8 groups, respectively. The presence of MDV enhanced the establishment of more lasting cryptosporidial infection in the respiratory tract, esophagus, crop, proventriculus, and kidneys (only in C4M0 group) as well as in bursa of Fabricius, ceca, and cloaca. Serologic analysis showed that chickens with chronic cryptosporidiosis in the C4M8 group had an increased level of C. baileyi-specific immunoglobulin A. Our results may explain some cases of mortality in chickens naturally infected with MDV and Cryptosporidium.

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Accession: 003480990

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DOI: 10.2307/1593049


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