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Avian Pathol. 2017 Feb;46(1):1-18. doi: 10.1080/03079457.2016.1229458. Epub 2016 Dec 7.

Histomonosis in poultry: previous and current strategies for prevention and therapy.

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a Clinic for Poultry and Fish Medicine, Department for Farm Animals and Veterinary Public Health , University of Veterinary Medicine , Vienna , Austria.
b Christian Doppler Laboratory for Innovative Poultry Vaccines (IPOV), University of Veterinary Medicine , Vienna , Austria.


Histomonosis is a parasitic disease of poultry with worldwide prevalence. The disease can cause morbidity and mortality in chicken and turkey flocks entailing severe economic losses. In the first half of the last century, there was a high demand to control histomonosis as the turkey industry was severely affected by the disease. Consequently, numerous chemical compounds were tested for their efficacy against Histomonas meleagridis with varying outcomes, that are summarized and specified in this review. At the same time, preliminary attempts to protect birds with cultured histomonads indicated the possibility of vaccination. Several years ago antihistomonal drugs were banned in countries with tight regulations on pharmaceuticals in order to comply with the demand of consumer protection. As a consequence, outbreaks of histomonosis in poultry flocks increased and the disease became endemic again. New approaches to prevent and treat histomonosis are, therefore, needed and recently performed studies focused on various areas to combat the disease, from alternative chemotherapeutic substances to plant-derived compounds until vaccination, altogether reviewed here. Considering existing regulations and the overall outcome of experimental studies, it can be concluded that vaccination is very promising, despite the fact that various challenges need to be addressed until the first ever developed vaccine based upon live flagellates in human or bird medicine can be marketed.


Histomonas meleagridis; Histomonosis; prophylaxis; therapy; vaccination

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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