Increasingly large numbers of poultry are held in production systems with access to outdoor areas. In these systems intestinal helminths are found with flock prevalences of up to 100%. Helminth infections influence chicken health negatively, which is why the following investigation has been performed.In the present experiment, 20 chickens of two inbred chicken lines containing the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) haplotypes, B14 and R5, were inoculated with 500 embryonated Ascaridia galli eggs. The A. galli-specific IgG titres of serum samples and the excretion of A. galli eggs in chicken faeces were measured for a period of 81 weeks.The level of excreted A. galli eggs measured as eggs per gram chicken faeces (EPG) varied greatly between chickens in each line. Significant differences were found between the two lines and with the R5 chickens reaching the highest levels. Likewise, the A. galli-specific IgG titres in serum differed significantly between the two lines, and an inverse relationship between infection level (EPG) and antibody titres was found. Although this inverse relationship suggests that humoral immunity may be involved in protection against A. galli infection, the high antibody titres did not prevent continued infection.
Veterinary Parasitology, 2013, Vol 191, Issue 1-2, p. 187-190