June 18, 2024

Feathered Findings: Exploring Poultry Diagnostics


Introduction to Poultry Diagnostics

Poultry diagnostic refers to the various tests and analysis performed on poultry birds to identify diseases, infections or other health issues. With the poultry industry becoming increasingly important globally in terms of food production, accurate diagnostics is crucial for maintaining bird health and productivity. Early and precise diagnosis allows veterinarians and farmers to take timely preventive or treatment measures.

History and Evolution of Poultry Diagnostic

Traditionally, poultry diagnostic relied heavily on observing clinical signs and symptoms in birds. Samples were examined under microscopes for pathogens. However, this approach had limitations in detection and identifying new or evolving diseases. Since the 1990s, advances in molecular biology and immunology have revolutionized diagnostics. Technologies like polymerase chain reaction (PCR), immunochromatography and serology tests have enabled detection of agents like avian influenza virus and salmonella that are difficult to culture. Real-time PCR assays provide results within hours compared to culturing that takes days. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits allow rapid, on-site testing of large numbers of samples.

Role of Diagnostics in Disease Surveillance and Control

With rising global trade in poultry and products, surveillance plays a key role in early detection of transboundary diseases. National and international reference labs conduct disease monitoring and screening of traded commodities. For example, following the 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak in the US, the National Animal Health Laboratory Network was set up for timely diagnostics, surveillance and reporting. Such coordinated efforts are vital for disease freedom certification and control of zoonotic pathogens like avian influenza and salmonella. Diagnostic data also helps trace origin of outbreaks and review farm biosecurity protocols.

Diagnostic Tools for Bacterial, Viral and Parasitic Infections

Bacterial Infections: Salmonellosis and colibacillosis are leading bacterial diseases impacting poultry. Culture and serotyping identify salmonella serovars. PCR assays detect genes associated with virulence and antimicrobial resistance in salmonella and E.coli.

Viral Infections: Avian influenza, Newcastle disease and infectious bronchitis are economically important viral diseases. Real-time RT-PCR is commonly used for rapid detection and subtyping of influenza and Newcastle disease virus directly from clinical samples. Electron microscopy images viral particles.

Parasitic Infections: Coccidiosis and parasitism by worms like Ascaridia galli reduce growth and increase mortality. Faecal floats and molecular assays detect parasite eggs and larvae at the species level for timely treatment.

Advanced Techniques in Poultry Diagnostics

Immunohistochemistry (IHC): IHC uses antigen-antibody reactions to identify viral, bacterial or parasitic antigens in tissue sections. This helps assess pathogenesis at the site of infection.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS): NGS revolutionizes disease investigation by sequencing entire pathogen genomes directly from samples. It enables identification of novel pathogens, mutations, recombination events and transmission pathways.

Artificial intelligence (AI): AI-powered tools for digital image analysis of pathological specimens and RT-PCR amplification curves are emerging areas. This could automate diagnostic assays and increase throughput.

Biomarker discovery: Proteomics and transcriptomics studies identify signatures of host response during infection. Biomarkers may complement conventional diagnostics through non-invasive sampling.

Role of Reference Laboratories

National and international reference labs collaborate to develop and validate standard diagnostic methods. They provide quality assurance, proficiency testing and training to optimize diagnostics network across multiple labs. Reference collections of pathogens are maintained for research on emerging diseases. During outbreaks, integrating field resources with reference expertise enhances response through characterization of causal agents, surveillance design and risk analysis.


In conclusion, continuous improvements in poultry diagnostics through novel technologies promise better animal health andpublic health outcomes. Coordinated global efforts are further advancingcapability for early detection of transboundary pathogens. Advancesalso support disease freedom certification and facilitate safe international trade. Going forward, digital platforms could help optimize sample collection, data sharing and capacity building between diagnostic networks worldwide.

 *Note :
1.     Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2.     We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile