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October 29, 2020

Boosting chickens’ own immune response could curb disease

Broiler chicken producers the world over are all too familiar with coccidiosis, a parasite-borne intestinal disease that stalls growth and winnows flocks. Various approaches, developed over decades, have been used to control coccidiosis, but the disease remains widespread. Recent research from the University of Illinois supports the use of immunomodulatory and antioxidant feed additives to reduce the effects of coccidiosis.

“In the last two decades, partially to get around the parasite’s resistance to pharmaceuticals, vaccination has become more prevalent. That’s when I got interested, because nutrition is a key element in the effectiveness of vaccines. Diet and health go together in that way,” says Ryan Dilger, associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Illinois and principal investigator on the research. “So, what we’re talking about here is not a vaccine. Instead, we used nutritional technologies to disrupt the normal reproductive cycle of the parasite.” Read more