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Avian Pathol. 2007 Feb;36(1):43-51.

Prevalence and associated risk factors of necrotic enteritis on broiler farms in the United Kingdom; a cross-sectional survey.

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Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, University of Liverpool, Faculty of Veterinary Science. Leahurst Veterinary Field Station, Chester High Road, Neston, CH64 7TE, UK.


In order to determine the prevalence and risk factors for necrotic enteritis in broilers, a cross-sectional survey was conducted among 857 farms, rearing broilers for nine UK poultry companies. The main data collection tool was a postal questionnaire directed at farm managers. Additional information on disease occurrence on the farm was collected from veterinary postmortem reports. The response rate to the questionnaire was 75%, ranging from 54% to 90% within companies. During 2001, 32.8% of the respondents indicated that they had observed a case of necrotic enteritis (95% confidence interval, 29.1 to 36.8) in at least one flock. The disease was most often reported during the months October to February. The point prevalence (necrotic enteritis occurrence in the most recently reared flock) reported by farm managers was 12.3% (95% confidence interval, 9.8 to 15.2). Multilevel logistic regression was performed with the poultry company as the random effect, using the occurrence of necrotic enteritis in the farm's most recently reared flock as the dependent variable. Strong associations were found between the outcome variable and the occurrence of wet litter (odds ratio, 2.39; 95% confidence interval, 1.27 to 4.52; P = 0.007) and coccidiosis (odds ratio, 4.68; 95% confidence interval, 1.74 to 12.55; P = 0.002). In addition, the use of ammonia as a disinfectant for coccidial oocysts appeared to be an independent risk factor (odds ratio, 3.44; 95% confidence interval, 1.53 to 7.71; P = 0.003). Finally, the positive association between the use of plasterboard walls in poultry houses and the occurrence of necrotic enteritis might point to an important role of cleaning and disinfection in the epidemiology of this disease (odds ratio, 3.72; 1.38 to 10.00; P = 0.009).

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