Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Brachyspira and its role in avian intestinal spirochaetosis.

Abstract

The fastidious, anaerobic spirochaete Brachyspira is capable of causing enteric disease in avian, porcine and human hosts, amongst others, with a potential for zoonotic transmission. Avian intestinal spirochaetosis (AIS), the resulting disease from colonisation of the caeca and colon of poultry by Brachyspira leads to production losses, with an estimated annual cost of circa £18 million to the commercial layer industry in the United Kingdom. Of seven known and several proposed species of Brachyspira, three are currently considered pathogenic to poultry; B. alvinipulli, B. intermedia and B. pilosicoli. Currently, AIS is primarily prevented by strict biosecurity controls and is treated using antimicrobials, including tiamulin. Other treatment strategies have been explored, including vaccination and probiotics, but such developments have been hindered by a limited understanding of the pathobiology of Brachyspira. A lack of knowledge of the metabolic capabilities and little genomic information for Brachyspira has resulted in a limited understanding of the pathobiology. In addition to an emergence of antibiotic resistance amongst Brachyspira, bans on the prophylactic use of antimicrobials in livestock are driving an urgent requirement for alternative treatment strategies for Brachyspira-related diseases, such as AIS. Advances in the molecular biology and genomics of Brachyspira heralds the potential for the development of tools for genetic manipulation to gain an improved understanding of the pathogenesis of Brachyspira.