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Weekly Overview: Diseases of Chickens, Humans and Ones We Share

04 April 2013

ANALYSIS - A poultry health specialist explains the difference between coccidiosis and coccidiasis on an exclusive video clip, and there is news of a promising new method of controlling the foodborne pathogen, Listeria. There is also an update on a new influenza virus - not so far linked to poultry - that has caused seven confirmed human cases in China.

At the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, US recently, ThePoultrySite asked Dr Hector Cervantes, Senior Manager of Poultry Technical Services with Phibro, to explain the difference between coccidiosis and coccidiasis in broilers. There is a short video of his reply.

Turning to human disease, engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New Jersey, US, have developed a new method to kill deadly pathogenic bacteria, including Listeria, in food handling and packaging. This innovation represents an alternative to the use of antibiotics or chemical decontamination in food supply systems.

Using Nature as their inspiration, the researchers successfully attached cell lytic enzymes to food-safe silica nanoparticles, and created a coating with the demonstrated ability selectively to kill listeria - a dangerous foodborne bacteria that causes an estimated 500 deaths every year in the United States alone. They are associated with a wide range of processed foods.

The coating kills listeria on contact, even at high concentrations, within a few minutes without affecting other bacteria. The lytic enzymes can also be attached to starch nanoparticles commonly used in food packaging.

In the last few days, several of the top poultry companies have reported strong results for the quarter or full year, including Cal-Maine, Marfrig and ConAgra. In the UK, the sale of Vion's poultry and red meat businesses to 2 Sisters' parent company has been finalised.

Concerns are growing about the emergence in humans of a new influenza A virus, H7N9, in China. Seven patients have been confirmed with the virus, with severe pneumonia as the main symptom. Although this virus has some similarity with H5N1 and some of the confirmed cases had contact with animals, this H7N9 virus has not been found in animals. It is not yet known how the people became infected. Although some media refer to it as "H7N9 bird flu", there is no indication that poultry or other birds are the source.

For the time being, ThePoultrySite is tracking news about the virus, which can be found on our Bird Flu page.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

Top image via Shutterstock





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