Poultry and Diabetics at Gas Gangrene Bug Risk

UK - Gas gangrene, the notorious infectious disease of two world wars, could still be a problem today.
calendar icon 30 March 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Professor Richard Titball of the University of Exeter, told the Society of General Microbiology Meeting at the International Centre, Harrogate last week that Clostridium perfringens, the bacterium responsible for gas gangrene can also cause necrotic enteritis in intensively raised chickens. This frequently fatal disease has significant financial implications for the poultry industry.

Intensive study of C. perfringens
Gas gangrene is not just a historical curiosity, said Professor Titball. In the past, he said, it has been a major cause of death and disability in servicemen injured on the battlefield, although it is rarely a problem now because of the prompt treatment that casualties receive. However it does occasionally occur in the civilian population in diabetes patients, with the elderly being most at risk. In the future, the incidence of gangrene infection may rise in line with the increase in this age group in the general population. It is essential to understand how the toxin works to prevent future disease, not only in diabetes sufferers but also in intensively reared animals, he added.

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