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Erysipelas in laying hens - epidemiology, pathogenesis and immunity

Published 2016-04-22

Erysipelas in laying hens is a very serious acute infectious disease that leads to welfare problems, high mortality and egg production losses in affected flocks. Many times the only possible way to control is euthanasia of the flock to prevent animal suffering. The disease has recently been defined by the Swedish association for egg producers as one of the three most serious health problems in laying hens. Basic knowledge of erysipelas in laying hens is very limited and consequently the infection is extremely difficult to prevent and control. Therefore, in this project we will apply advanced new genome sequencing methods, bioinformatics, molecular and immunological tools to address these issues. We will also develop an experimental infection model in chickens in order to gain understanding of the pathogenesis of the infection and the development of immunity.

The overall aim is to generate new and important knowledge on the epidemiology and pathogenesis of and immune responses to erysipelas in laying hens. This knowledge will enable scientifically based guidelines on prevention of future disease outbreaks thereby securing animal welfare and minimizing economic losses mainly in the growing sector of organic egg production but also in other production systems.