December 5, 2008

Diseases to pull up turkey prices in UK


Poultry disease blackhead and mycoplasma may jack up prices of turkeys this Christmas season, according to a surveillance report by the UK Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA). 


In the first case, the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire, diagnosed septicaemia caused by erysipelas, as the cause of death in five turkeys out of 520 that were supposed to be culled at the beginning of December.


This is a sudden disease caught by turkeys and free-range chickens, and poultry are at an increased risk if the farm facilities have been used by pigs or sheep.


The second case occurred in the Langford office, near Bristol, UK, of which VLA reported four separate outbreaks of Blackhead affecting growing turkeys. Blackhead is a disease caused by protozoan Histomonas meleagridis which affects the lower digestive tract.


Symptoms of the disease include: A stilted gait when walking, loss of interest in food, wasting, and yellow droppings, occasionally darkening of the skin and wattles, and death. The darkening of skin and wattles on the head is how the common name "blackhead" is derived.


And finally, the Shrewsbury office looked into the deaths of 10 birds from a group of 120 broilers, which were raised on a farm for 2-3 weeks. They were eight-week-old birds raised for the Christmas market and were diagnosed with Mycoplasma gallisepticum.

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