Fowl Typhoid and Pullorum Disease

A Highly Contagious Bacterial Infection

Pullorum disease and fowl typhoid affect all poultry and various wild birds. Though virtually eradicated from commercial flocks in most developed countries, outbreaks still happen in backyard flocks, game birds, and wild birds. Lighter breeds are more resistant; heavier breeds are more susceptible. Although rare, some mammals can contract these diseases as well. Zoonotic transmission to humans is unlikely but not impossible.

Horizontal transmission occurs from fellow birds through the respiratory tract, orally, or through an open wound. The bacteria are shed through feces of infected birds. Additionally, birds can contract it through cannibalism, feather picking, or mechanically spread through equipment or animals/humans traveling between farms.

Vertical transmission is when bacteria pass from hen to offspring through egg transmission. Chicks will either hatch with the disease or die during development. Infected chicks soon infect their brood-mates.

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