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In your opinion, what is the impact or repercussion of coccidiosis on poultry production?
Definitely, the impact of this disease is extremely high. Coccidiosis experts estimate that the cost of prevention, added to the losses derived from subclinical processes pertaining to the disease, could be in excess of 1 billion dollars.
This is only an estimative number, since we should take into account other effects of the disease on canal quality control levels and performance within the processing plant. All these effects provide a clear idea of the importance of this disease in poultry industry.
Can we be relaxed regarding the degree of attention we should give this disease?
This is the main problem: relaxation. When the problem is not appropriately monitored and prevention strategies are not developed, zootechnical results fall without a clear explanation of this occurrence.
We should not forget that the main problem with subclinical coccidiosis is that it does not clearly appear as a disease or as common lesions. If we stop paying attention and we lower our guard with the follow-up the problem is magnified.
How does this disease affect poultry farmers in Latin America?
The disease in Latin America is comparable to that of the rest of the world. Poultry production is really standardized both genetically and regarding production systems.
Therefore, I do not think that a poultry farmer in this Continent has fewer problems than a European or a North American one. Latin American companies are well aware of the importance of the disease. We see that companies are taking an ever-increasing interest in the improvement of prevention strategies.
On the other hand, we find that, in certain countries, there is a highly demanding production in terms of weight or pigmentation standards, inter alia, which calls for a stricter control of coccidiosis.
Finally, there is an increasing concern about an anticoccidial antibiotic-and additive-free production, either because some of these countries export under such conditions, or because there is a domestic demand for this type of meat.
Which Eimeria species are the most troubling for this field?
There are eimeria “clinical” species that are well diagnosed and affect fowls at certain ages.
Generally speaking, species of Eimera acervulina, Eimeria maxima, and Eimeria tenella have been properly identified in broilers, and furthermore, Eimeria brunetti and Eimera necatrix have been found in long-cycle fowls (both breeders and layers). Therefore, prevention against these species is mandatory.
In broilers, management of other subclinical species such as Eimeria praecox and Eimeria mitis is also very important, since this control entails an improvement of various aspects of prevention. Let us keep in mind the growth capability and the conversion rate of a current broiler.
Any interference at the digestive tract will impair such potential and this brings about a penalty in the outcome.
The inter-relation among Eimeria species and the synergic effect of ones over the others must be assessed as well. A clear example of this is the synergic effect shown between Eimera acervulina and Eimeria praecox, two species which inhabit the same locus (duodenum).
Thus, it is not only a matter of prevalence of one or other species, but a synergic effect that two species might have, even when one of them is the sub-clinical type.
How can we prevent and control infestation?
Above all, by monitoring the disease very closely. A lack of clinical cases does not mean there is an absence of the disease. Therefore, it is very important to make a proper diagnosis and establish regular follow-up schedules.
The technician must be trained and accustomed to making field diagnoses in a simple but constant manner. Lesion scoring is still a good method if practiced in an orderly way.
In the prevention chapter, the company authorities must soundly manage every means at hand. In that sense, the incorporation of anticoccidial vaccines into prevention strategies has brought about a significant improvement on this issue.
As we know, the massive medium-term use of coccidiostats will lead to the development of resistance in the parasite, and an increase of oocyst levels – which have a resistance profile – in the farm.
Vaccination involves the activation of the fowl’s immune system, and consequently a more specific, more efficacious fight without the risk of resistance. That is why there is now a rising trend toward the use of vaccines throughout the world.
In our opinion, the choice of the vaccine product is very important, and it should take into consideration:
How should we deal with these circumstances in long-cycle fowls?
The perspective is different in the case of long cycle fowls. In this case, we should pay special attention to eimera species that clinically affect such fowls.
A breeder or a layer is not intended to achieve the maximum weight or rate of conversion, but to grow in an orderly and regularly manner in order to guarantee success in the production period.
The economic value of these fowls is much higher from the start, and the problem a coccidiosis brings about is extremely important, considering the loss it would cause in eggs for consumption or chicks.
The incorporation of vaccines against coccidiosis into prevention strategies has led to a significant improvement of this issue
Under this category, vaccination is the method of choice, and there is more to it than that. First, as mentioned above, it is necessary to achieve prevention from species of a primarily clinical nature. On the other hand, it is crucial that immunity last as long as possible, and that it covers the productive period. Finally, the application process should be made as accurate as possible, and it should be possible to track this process from the initial time of vaccination until the hatching of the chicks.
Keeping such criteria in mind, HIPRAA has developed EVALON with HIPRAMUNET, the first anticoccidial vaccine which incorporates a specific adjuvant to maintain protective levels of immunity up to the age of 60 weeks (as shown in field studies).
EVALON is not only a product but a global vaccination concept which includes a high technology delivery kit “coarse spray” for the incubation room (HIPRAspray®) and a traceability system (HIPRAlink) which provides the maximum information and transparency on the process.
We are convinced that the incubation room is the best place to apply the vaccines. Therefore, we have created this system which, apart from improving application, allows for a real time information on the process up to the receipt of the one-day old chick, thus creating a higher level of confidence.
In what way have we improved-changed to a farm level by using vaccines?
At the breeder level, the change to vaccination has been conclusive, since it used to be very difficult to manage the disease with coccidiostats in the poultry feed dosed during the rearing periods. The rationale is always the same for hens laying eggs on the ground or on systems that are alternative to cages. In broilers, control has improved a lot as a result of the lowering of resistance due to coccidiostats.
On the other hand, a better or more specific protection has a beneficial effect on the intestinal mucosa, this being a major immune organ. Not only does such benefit lead to an improvement in zootechnical results, but to an improvement of the sanitation status as well. In actual practice, a general decrease of the use of antibiotics has been seen in integrations which use vaccine rotation as the center of their strategy.
What will the control of coccidiosis be like in the future?
Vaccination rate in broilers is in progress. Apart from the aforementioned technical improvement there is a greater concern among consumers about meats that are free of antibiotics or antibiotic-like additives. Undoubtedly, this trend will bring about a modification of preventive strategies.
The proposal for the future is probably not that of a choice between a vaccine and a coccidiostat but rather that of the most suitable type of vaccine.
Are you planning to carry out any type of projects in Latin America? Could you please give us a hint in that regard?
Latin America is a key market for us and HIPRA has been working there for a long time. We have an extensive product catalog and we are well known by important therapeutic areas in that Continent: Gumboro, Newcastle, and pneumovirus, the latter being our main reference.
Our HIPRACOX and EVALON projects are 100% open to those countries. HIPRACOX, in fact, is already being sold in Brazil and it is being registered in other Latin American countries. As to EVALON, the plan contemplates registration in Latin American countries. It should be noted that HIPRA already has an established structure in Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, and Colombia and is present in the rest of Latin America via its partners.
What other new challenges does HIPRA intend to meet in the near future?
The main challenge is already at our door. HIPRA participates as one of the main sponsors of the 2015 WVPA World Congress on Poultry Production, which will be held in South Africa on September 7 to 11.
It will be the first time we attend and take part in this event and are we sure that it will represent a great breakthrough in the history of the country. We want to position ourselves as what we really are, a prevention model to follow for poultry health, by showing our best trump cards: an array of products covering most therapeutic areas; our own diagnostic lab (DIAGNOS) directed to monitoring our products; continued training programs (HIPRA UNIVERSITY) for our clients; and, above all, a highly specialized staff of people who are knowledgeable of the market.
We have organized a satellite conference to be held on the eve of the congress -“Tracing a new path in coccidiosis immunology”- where we will introduce EVALON® and our global concept of vaccination against coccidiosis. We expect to have about 200 authorities in the field and we will have renowned researchers in this area as lecturers, among others, doctor Hyun Lillehoj, who is currently working at USDA.
The announcement of this project is one of the main reasons why we will be there.
HIPRA is continuing its International expansion process for all species (porcine, poultry, and ruminant farming). This growth is based on the development of products and solutions for livestock farming. Our future strategy is clearly expressed in our vision: to become a model of prevention for animal health.
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