Costa Rica’s veterinary authorities have reported six outbreaks of Salmonella Gallinarum (fowl typhoid) in five commercial layer farms located in the provinces of Alajuela and one in San José.

broad-spectrum-third-generation-fluoroquinolone-500x500In Alajuela, the farms are located in Rincón Chiquito, La Guácima; Ochomogo, Turrúcares, (resolved); and San Miguel, Turrúcares (1 resolved, 2 continuing). In San José, the commercial layer farm is located in Piedras Negras, Puriscal.

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) received a second follow-up report  indicating outbreaks reportedly took place during the months of June, August, September and December 2013.

Salmonella gallinarum infection primarily causes disease in chickens and turkeys, but ducks, pheasants, guinea-fowl, peafowl, grouse, and quail can also be affected. Due to extensive testing and control by the poultry producers, Fowl Typhoid is rare in countries with a modern poultry industry. The disease has gained incidence in South America and other countries throughout Africa and Asia in recent year. Canada and the United States are presently free of the disease. This bacteria limits itself to avian species and is not known to cause disease in humans.

The report states that the outbreaks have an effect on the entire country. A serotyping test was carried out at the National Animal Health Laboratory, the national laboratory, on 21 December 2013, confirming the presence of the disease in the country.

The OIE reports that a total of 111.771 birds were found susceptible to the outbreak, out of which 14241 cases were reported. Out of the 14.241 affected birds, a total of 11.402 deaths have been recorded. A total of 36.794 layers were slaughtered.

According to the OIE, epidemiological investigations are still on-going in neighboring holdings and any reported suspicion is followed up.

The OIE, in conjunction with the Costa Rican veterinary authorities, have applied several control measures. These include quarantine, movement control inside the country, zoning, disinfection of infected premises/establishment(s). Vaccination has, however, been prohibited.

The source of the outbreaks remains inconclusive.

Outbreaks are characterized by increased mortality, anorexia, and a drop in egg production. A watery to mucoid yellow diarrhea is characteristic, and the birds are depressed with rapid breathing. Subacute outbreaks can occur, and egg transmission may lead to increased dead or weak chicks. Recovered birds may be carriers.

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