A major target of bacteriological examinations is the detection and typification of Salmonella as part of the zoonosis control programs. Further comprehensive laboratory examinations are the prerequisites for the monitoring of modern hygiene standards. The classical agent isolation methods are used in cases where it is necessary to correctly identify the pathogens and evaluate the resistance profiles for an antimicrobial treatment in a diseased poultry population. Further serological or molecular biological methods allow a more detailed classification of strains resulting in epidemiological conclusions which could be necessary for the use of the pathogens for the production of autogenous vaccines.
Detection of antibodies whilst conducting serological examinations can determine infections within a flock as well as the effectiveness of the applied vaccination programs. Depending on the type of agent and the concern in question, various serological tests will be used. Methods such as Rapid plate agglutination tests (RPA), the Agar-gel precipitation test (AGP) and the Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) allow the detection of antibodies against a specific type of pathogen. Haemagglutination inhibition test (HI) and Virus neutralization test (VNT) permit to furthermore distinguish antibodies from different serotypes or subtypes of a pathogen, e.g. Infectious bronchitis (IB), or avian influenza (AI). The application of immunofluorescence helps to clarify more specific questions.
Molecular biological techniques can indeed answer many questions of viral diagnostics, but they cannot replace classical methods of virus isolation in embryonated eggs or tissue culture systems. The Veterinary Laboratory of LOHMANN TIERZUCHT will continue to offer these diagnostic services. This is the basis for the selection of virus isolates for the production of autogenous vaccines like those against Avian Reo or Adeno viruses or the Infectious Bronchitis Virus.
Molecular methods like the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) are substantial parts of veterinary diagnostics especially in poultry production. The Real Time PCR, for example, offers the possibility to test for and certify the presence of Avian Influenza Virus in acute disease outbreaks within only a few hours. As such, this has become an essential part of disease control. While the detection of antibodies would only lead to retrospective information on the health status of a flock, the PCR offers the most current information, e.g. about the freedom of Mycoplasma. In addition to that, today’s PCR and subsequent sequencing process offer a fast characterization of Bronchitis field strains or the analysis of virulence genes in E. coli isolates.
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