Avian Coccidiosis: A Major Parasitic Disease of Poultry Industry


  • Mahendra Pal Narayan Consultancy on Veterinary Public Health and Microbiology- Anand-388001, Gujarat
  • Tesfaye Rebuma Ambo University, School of Veterinary Medicine Guder Mamo Mezemir Campus, Veterinary Teaching Clinic, Ambo, ETHIOPIA
  • Tariku Tolosa School of Veterinary Medicine, Ambo University, Ambo, ETHIOPIA


Avian coccidiosis is a serious parasitic disease that affects chickens, and is caused by the intracellular apicomplexan protozoa Eimeria. The disease is fatal and targets the intestinal tract. Seven species of Eimeria are found in chickens, including the most prevalent, Eimeria acervulina, Eimeria maxima, and Eimeria tenella. These bacteria infiltrate the intestinal epithelial cells in a particular location of the gut and cause variable degrees of tissue damage and morbidity. The intricate life cycle of Eimeria consists of both intracellular and extracellular stages that trigger a strong inflammatory response. This response leads to tissue damage brought on by lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress, diarrheal bleeding, stunted growth, increased susceptibility to other disease agents, and, in extreme cases, death. The severity of coccidian infection depends on the age of the birds, Eimeria species, number of sporulated oocysts ingested, immune status of the bird, and environmental management. Coccidiosis in chickens is characterized by dysentery, enteritis, emaciation, drooping wings, poor growth, and low production, with a high rate of mortality and morbidity. Anticoccidials are drugs used for the prevention and control of coccidian infections. They can either be coccidiocidal or coccidiostatic. The most commonly used drugs are sulphonamides, amprolium, and toltrazuril. Today, the prevention and control of coccidiosis are based on chemotherapy, using anticoccidial drugs or vaccines, along with hygienic measures and improved farm management. This current review highlights the prevention and control of avian coccidiosis.


Abbas, R. Z., Iqbal, Z., Khan, A., Sindhu, Z. U. D., Khan, J. A., Khan, M. N., and Raza, A. 2012. Options for integrated strategies for the control of avian coccidiosis. Int J Agric Biol, 14(6), 1014-1020.

Allen, P. C., and Fetterer, R. 2002. Recent advances in biology and immunobiology of Eimeria species and in diagnosis and control of infection with these coccidian parasites of poultry. Clinical microbiology reviews, 15(1), 58-65.

Awais, M. M., Akhtar, M., Iqbal, Z., Muhammad, F., and Anwar, M. I. 2012. Seasonal prevalence of coccidiosis in industrial broiler chickens in Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan. Tropical animal health and production, 44, 323-328.

Blake, D. P., and Tomley, F. M. 2014. Securing poultry production from the ever-present Eimeria challenge. Trends in parasitology, 30(1), 12-19.

Blake, D. P., Clark, E. L., Macdonald, S. E., Thenmozhi, V., Kundu, K., Garg, R., and Tomley, F. M. 2015. Population, genetic, and antigenic diversity of the apicomplexan Eimeria tenella and their relevance to vaccine development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(38), E5343-E5350.

Chapman, H. D. 2014. Milestones in avian coccidiosis research: a review. Poultry science, 93(3), 501-511.

Clark, J. D., Oakes, R. D., Redhead, K., Crouch, C. F., Francis, M. J., Tomley, F. M., & Blake, D. P. 2012. Eimeria species parasites as novel vaccine delivery vectors: anti-Campylobacter jejuni protective immunity induced by Eimeria tenella-delivered CjaA. Vaccine, 30(16), 2683-2688.

Conway, D. P., and McKenzie, M. E. 2007. Poultry coccidiosis: diagnostic and testing procedures. John Wiley and Sons.

Fanatico, A. 2006. Parasite management for natural and organic poultry: coccidiosis. NCAT Agriculture Specialist, ATTRA Publication# IP, 245.

Hafez, H. M. 2008. Poultry coccidiosis: Prevention and control approaches. Archiv Fur Geflugelkunde, 72(1), 2-7.

Haug, A., Gjevre, A. G., Thebo, P., Mattsson, J. G., and Kaldhusdal, M. 2008. Coccidial infections in commercial broilers: epidemiological aspects and comparison of Eimeria species identification by morphometric and polymerase chain reaction techniques. Avian pathology, 37(2), 161-170.

Lee, S., Lillehoj, H. S., Park, D. W., Hong, Y. H., and Lin, J. J. 2007. Effects of Pediococcus-and Saccharomyces-based probiotic (MitoMax®) on coccidiosis in broiler chickens. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 30(4), 261-268.

Li, G. Q., Kanu, S., Xiao, S. M., and Xiang, F. Y. 2005. Responses of chickens vaccinated with a live attenuated multi-valent ionophore-tolerant Eimeria vaccine. Veterinary Parasitology, 129(3-4), 179-186.

McDonald, V., and Shirley, M. W. 2009. Past and future: vaccination against Eimeria. Parasitology, 136(12), 1477-1489.

Quiroz-Castañeda, R. E., and Dantán-González, E. 2015. Control of avian coccidiosis: future and present natural alternatives. BioMed research international, 2015.

Reid, A. J., Blake, D. P., Ansari, H. R., Billington, K., Browne, H. P., Bryant, J., and Pain, A. 2014. Genomic analysis of the causative agents of coccidiosis in domestic chickens. Genome research, 24(10), 1676-1685.

Saif, Y. M., Fadly, A. M., Glisson, J. R., McDougald, L. R., Nolan, L. K., and Swayne, D. E. 2008. Disease of poultry 12th Edition.

Taylor, M. A., Coop, R. L., and Wall, R. L. 2015. Veterinary parasitology. John Wiley & Sons.

Tewari, A. K., and Maharana, B. 2011. Control of poultry coccidiosis: changing trends. Journal of Parasitic Diseases, 35, 10-17.

Vermeulen, A. N., Schaap, D. C., and Schetters, T. P. 2007. Control of coccidiosis in chickens by vaccination. Veterinary Parasitology, 100(1-2), 13-20.

Williams, R. B. 2002. Anticoccidial vaccines for broiler chickens: pathways to success. Avian Pathology, 31(4), 317-353.




How to Cite

Pal, M., Rebuma, T., & Tolosa, T. (2024). Avian Coccidiosis: A Major Parasitic Disease of Poultry Industry. International Journal of Livestock Research, 14(1). Retrieved from http://ijlr.org/ojs_journal/index.php/ijlr/article/view/286

Most read articles by the same author(s)