Coccidia are single-celled, obligate, spore-forming parasites that infect a wide variety of animals and are host specific. Nine known species affect chickens and seven affect turkeys, and disease severity depends on strain. The infective unit, called a sporulated oocyst, reproduces in the intestines. A single infective oocyst can create over 100,000 new oocysts. Lesions appear as oocysts destroy epithelial cells, leading to mucousy, bloody stools. Significant blood loss causes pale comb and skin.

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