Investigation of Botulism in Chickens01 January 2011
NORWAY - Three research institutes have received funding to investigate the recent increase in botulism outbreaks in commercial chickens in Norway and Sweden in recent years.
Outbreaks of botulism in commercial chicken flocks have occurred in Norway and Sweden in recent years and may result in extensive losses of birds but the reasons for why outbreaks occur remains unknown. The National Veterinary Institute in Oslo in collaboration with the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science and the National Veterinary Institute in Uppsala have received funding to examine the extent to which Clostridium botulinum exists within healthy chicken flocks and which may be the sources of infection.
Further, a new laboratory assay for detection of the toxin itself will be developed by the project. This new assay will have positive implications with regard to animal welfare, because the toxin is detected without any involvement of laboratory mice.
The anaerobic bacterium, C. botulinum, produces one the most potent neurotoxins, which inhibits neuromuscular junction activity. The inhibition of muscular contraction results in a flaccid paralysis.
Botulism occurs not only in humans but in many animal species including waterfowl and chickens ('limberneck'). The strain of C. botulinum that causes avian botulism is distinct from the strain that causes human disease.
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