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Effects of Virginiamycin Against Experimentally Induced Necrotic Enteritis in Chickens Vaccinated Against Coccidiosis

25 June 2013

Administration of an attenuated coccidial vaccine increased morbidity and mortality in broilers challenged with Clostridium perfringens in a study in Iran, while virginiamycin and/or salinomycin in the feed for 30 days improved broiler performance and prevented necrotic enteritis.

Necrotic enteritis is a deadly poultry disease caused by Clostridium perfringens, according to the authors of a paper in the latest issue of Journal of Applied Poultry Research.

B. Shojadoost from the University of Tehran in Iran and co-authors there and at Islamic Azad University explain that in-feed antibiotics such as virginiamycin are commonly used in many countries to control necrotic enteritis. A ban on in-feed antibiotics usage in some European Union countries has caused an increase in the incidence of necrotic enteritis.

In their investigation, they firstly assessed the effects of a live attenuated coccidial vaccine on the severity of experimentally induced necrotic enteritis in broilers and the role of virginiamycin in prevention of disease were assessed. Second, they studied whether virginiamycin, salinomycin or both would help to reduce the severity of necrotic enteritis.

The first study showed that although the administration of a double-dose of an attenuated coccidial vaccine led to a higher morbidity and mortality among C. perfringens-challenged birds, virginiamycin prevented mortalities and improved the performance parameters in vaccinated birds.

In the second study, administration of virginiamycin and salinomycin for 30 days were efficacious in preventing necrotic enteritis induced by C. perfringens that had been previously isolated from acute cases of necrotic enteritis in broiler farms. However, the short-term effects of in-feed virginiamycin against necrotic enteritis, although evident in reducing the mortalities, were not satisfactory.

This study provides further evidence that in-feed virginiamycin benefits the poultry industry by prevention of necrotic enteritis, concluded Shojadoost and co-authors.


Shojadoost B., S.M. Peighambari and H. Nikpiran. 2013. Effects of virginiamycin against experimentally induced necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens vaccinated or not with an attenuated coccidial vaccine. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 22(2):160-167. doi: 10.3382/japr.2012-00541

Further Reading

You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.

Find out more about necrotic enteritis by clicking here.

June 2013

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