Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection



Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection


  • Last modified
  • 27 July 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection
  • Pathogens
  • Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale
  • Overview
  • In 1994, Vandamme et al. proposed that a bacterium isolated from the avian respiratory tract should be assigned to a new genus, Ornithobacterium. The type species of the genus, Ornithobacterium rhinotrachelae...

  • There are no pictures available for this datasheet

    If you can supply pictures for this datasheet please contact:

    CAB International
    OX10 8DE
  • Distribution map More information

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report


Top of page


Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection

International Common Names

  • English: ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection in turkeys and chickens


Top of page Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale


Top of page

In 1994, Vandamme et al. proposed that a bacterium isolated from the avian respiratory tract should be assigned to a new genus, Ornithobacterium. The type species of the genus, Ornithobacterium rhinotrachelae, is the only species that has been described so far, but genetic investigation has revealed that more species or subspecies probably exist within the genus (van Empel and Hafez, 1999). O. rhinotrachelae is positioned in the taxonomic tree near the genera Flavobacterium, Cytophaga, Capnocytophaga and Riemerella within rRNA superfamily V (Vandamme et al., 1994). Athough not officially described until 1994, investigations of culture collections have revealed that the bacterium was first isolated in 1981 from turkeys with respiratory disease in Germany, and then in 1983 from rooks in Germany.

A new respiratory disease of poultry associated with O. rhinotracheale was reported in the early 1990s. Respiratory problems, together with purulent pneumonia, airsacculitis, severe growth retardation and increasing mortality were reported in meat turkeys and broilers in South Africa, Germany, the USA, France and the Netherlands (Charlton et al., 1993; Léorat et al., 1994; van Beek et al., 1994; Hafez et al., 1996). A slow growing, pleomorphic, gram-negative rod was repeatedly isolated from affected organs. Initially, this new bacterium was named Pasteurella-like, Kingella-like or ‘taxon 28’ (van Beek et al., 1994). Vandamme et al. (1994) proposed the name Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale gen. nov. sp. nov. after investigating a collection of isolates from the respiratory tracts of turkeys, chickens, rooks and a partridge in France, Belgium, Germany, South Africa, the USA and UK.

The disease caused by O. rhinotracheale has been reproduced experimentally in both chickens and turkeys. In early experiments not all of the clinical signs could be reproduced without priming with a virus (van Empel et al., 1996). These findings resulted in speculation that O. rhinotracheale is not a primary pathogen. However, using O. rhinotracheale alone, Sprenger et al. (1998) experimentally produced the clinical disease, mortality and pathology in male turkeys that resembled that of field infections. Van Veen et al. (2000b) was able to induce lesions in broilers after aerosol challenge with O. rhinotracheale without priming with virus, showing that O. rhinotracheale is also a primary pathogen in chickens.

O. rhinotracheale now has a worldwide distribution in commercial poultry (van Empel and Hafez, 1999) and it affects birds of all ages. It has been associated with hatching problems of chicken and turkey eggs (El-Gohary, 1998). It has also been associated with disease in broilers (van Beek et al., 1994; Sakai et al., 2000; van Veen et al., 2000a), meat turkeys (Hinz et al., 1994; van Beek et al., 1994; Zorman-Rojs et al., 2000), layers, broiler breeders and turkey layers (Joubert et al., 1999; Sprenger et al., 2000a).

Host Animals

Top of page
Animal nameContextLife stageSystem
GallusDomesticated host, Wild host
Gallus gallus domesticus (chickens)Domesticated host, Wild hostPoultry: All Stages
Meleagris gallopavo (turkey)Domesticated host, Wild hostPoultry: All Stages

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page

O. rhinotracheale has been isolated from the respiratory tract of turkeys, chickens and wild birds, including pheasants, partridges, guinea fowl and rooks (Devriese et al., 1995; Leroy-Setrin et al., 1998). The bacterium infects chickens and turkeys of all ages. It has been associated with hatching problems in chicken and turkey eggs (El-Gohary, 1998) and with disease in broilers (van Beek et al., 1994; Sakai et al., 2000; van Veen et al., 2000a), meat turkeys (Hinz et al., 1994; van Beek et al., 1994; Zorman-Rojs et al., 2000), layers, broiler breeders and turkey layers (Joubert et al., 1999; Sprenger et al., 2000a). In turkeys, respiratory signs of the disease and mortality appear to be more severe in market age or adult birds (Back et al., 1998b; Roepke et al., 1998). Subclinical infections have been reported in younger birds (Zorman-Rojs et al., 2000). Clinical signs have also been reported as more severe and mortality higher, in males than in females (Zorman-Rojs et al., 2000). White specific-pathogen-free leghorns have been found to be less susceptible to O. rhinotracheale infection than broilers, however there was no difference in susceptibility between commercial broilers and specific-pathogen-free broilers (van Veen et al., 2000b).

Systems Affected

Top of page respiratory diseases of poultry


Top of page

The first known isolation of O. rhinotracheale was made in Germany in 1981 from 5-week-old turkeys with respiratory disease (Hinz et al., 1994). The bacterium was then isolated in South Africa, Israel, the USA and many European countries (Amonsin et al., 1997; van Empel et al., 1997). O. rhinotracheale is now of worldwide distribution in commercial poultry and it is also found in wild birds (van Empel and Hafez, 1999). It has been suggested that the transmission of O. rhinotracheale vertically through eggs may account for its rapid and worldwide spread (van Empel and Hafez, 1999).

Distribution Table

Top of page

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


IranPresentBanani et al., 2000
JapanPresentSakai E et al., 2000


EgyptPresentYoussef and Ahmed, 1996; El-Gohary, 1998; El-Shamy et al., 2000
South AfricaPresentTravers, 1996; Travers et al., 1996

North America

CanadaLocalisedAbdul-Aziz and Weber, 1999; Joubert et al., 1999
-OntarioPresentAbdul-Aziz and Weber, 1999
-QuebecPresentJoubert et al., 1999
USAPresentSprenger et al., 2000a; Rosa et al., 1996; Odor et al., 1997; Odor et al., 1998
-CaliforniaPresentSalmon et al., 1999
-North CarolinaPresentSalmon et al., 1999


AustriaPresentHafez and Friedrich, 1998
FrancePresentLeroy-Sétrin et al., 1998
GermanyPresentRyll et al., 1997
HungaryPresentTanyi et al., 1995
ItalyPresentLombardi et al., 1999
NetherlandsPresentvan Veen et al., 2000a; van Beek et al., 1994
SpainPresentPagès et al., 1995


Top of page

The most common post-mortem findings observed in clinical outbreaks and after experimental infection are airsacculitis and pneumonia. Other findings include tracheitis, pericarditis, sinusitis and pleuritis (Charlton et al., 1993; Hinz et al., 1994; van Beek et al., 1994; van Empel et al., 1996; El-Gohary and Awaad, 1998; Roepke et al., 1998; Sakai et al., 2000; van Veen et al., 2000a).

Histopathological examination of infected broilers reveals infiltration of the lungs and air sacs by lymphocytes and polymorphonuclear heterophils (van Veen et al., 2000a). The lumen of these organs contains masses of fibrinopurulent exudates. In the muscles, some diffuse loss of cross-striation, indicative of degenerative changes may be seen. Lymphocytes accumulate in the liver. Using peroxidase-antiperoxidase staining, van Veen et al. (2000a) found that O. rhinotracheale antigen was abundant in the respiratory organs and also in the tendons, not only in the tendon sheath, but in the aponeurosis to the bone as well.

In turkeys, prominent post-mortem lesions include serofibrinous bronchopneumonia with blood in the trachea and bronchi, and a fibrinous inflammation of the thoracic airsacs (Hinz et al., 1994). The lungs are swollen, congested, heavy and consolidated (Abdul-Aziz and Weber, 1999). Histopathological examination reveals severe fibrinoheterophilic inflammation in the airways, pleura and air sacs, and severe perivascular interstitial oedema in the lungs (de Rosa et al., 1996). In the liver there is acute coagulative necrosis of hepatocytes, associated with occasional thrombosis at the periphery of the liver lobes.

After experimental infection of male turkeys (22 weeks old), Sprenger et al. (1998) found that the lungs were reddened, wet and heavy, failed to collapse, and were covered by tenacious tan-to-white exudates. Microscopically, the parabronchi and air capillaries were filled with fibrin, heterophils, macrophages and small numbers of gram-negative bacteria. The pleura was often covered by a thick layer of fibrin, heterophils and macrophages. O. rhinotracheale was recovered from the lungs of most birds with pneumonia and was also cultured from the air sacs, sinuses, trachea, spleen and liver.


Top of page

Isolation and Identification of the Causative Agent

The trachea and lungs are the two organs from which O. rhinotracheale is most commonly isolated, following natural or experimental infection (Back et al., 1998b). The bacterium has also been isolated from the liver, lungs, ovaries, oviducts, spleen and heart of turkeys after experimental infection (Ryll et al., 1996; Back et al., 1998b). It has been suggested that some of these organs may also be useful for isolating O. rhinotracheale.

Laboratory isolation is done on blood agar (Chin and Droual, 1997; van Empel and Hafez, 1999). However, O. rhinotracheaele grows slowly and it is easily overgrown by other organisms. Because of this, it is likely that infection is under-diagnosed. The API-20NE identification strip, incubated at 30°C, is useful for biochemical characterization of O. rhinotracheale. Some commercial systems have been found to be suitable for identification of O. rhinotracheale (Post et al., 1999; van Empel and Hafez, 1999), although the media used in such systems will not always support its growth (van Empel and Hafez, 1999). A PCR assay has been found to be suitable for identification purposes (van Empel and Hafez, 1999). Immunofluorescence has also been used for rapid diagnosis of the disease (Lombardi et al., 1999).


The agar gel precipitation test is a useful method for serotyping (van Empel et al., 1997). A serum plate agglutination test developed by Back et al. (1998a) was found to be specific and sensitive for the detection of O. rhinotracheale antibodies.

Using an ELISA, van Empel et al. (1997) detected the presence of antibodies against O. rhinotracheale in one-day-old birds, as well as in birds with clinical signs. However, the serotype specificity of the ELISA was seen as a disadvantage for screening purposes. Also, serological responses in birds infected in the field were sometimes low and could disappear after several weeks. Hafez et al. (2000) tested the ability of 2 ELISAs to detect antibodies against 12 serotypes (A-L) of O. rhinotracheale. All serotypes can be detected using either ELISA.

Differential Diagnosis

By using biochemical, serological tests or molecular (PCR) tests, O. rhinotracheale can be differentiated from other gram-negative rods potentially pathogenic for poultry, such as Pasteurella multocida, Haemophilus paragallinarum and Riemerella anatipestifer (van Empel et al., 1997).


There is very little published information describing the immune response of chickens and turkeys to O. rhinotracheale infection.

An immunohistochemical study of NDV-primed chickens (van Empel et al., 1999) showed that, at two days after aerosol exposure to O. rhinotracheale, the air sacs were infiltrated by macrophages and polymorphonuclear neutrophils. Then there was a strong accumulaton of macrophages at the site of infection. O. rhinotracheale cells or fragments were demonstrated all over the air sacs, but were predominantly associated with the macrophages. The infection peaked at 5 to 9 days after O. rhinotracheale exposure, after which recovery was seen. Experimental infection of chickens without NDV priming resulted in no visible lesions and O. rhinotracheale could not be recovered more than two days after exposure. However, the serological response of these birds was as strong and prolonged as that of heavily infected birds that had been primed with NDV. O. rhinotracheale may be able to invade cells, such as macrophages, even without viral priming, and survive intracellularly (van Empel et al., 1999). In this way the bacterium could hide itself within the body. This may explain how O. rhinotracheale causes infections as soon as the immune system is suppressed, or tissues are damaged, for example by a virus.

Antibodies against O. rhinotracheale can be detected in infected flocks by ELISA, but serological responses are sometimes low and can disappear after several weeks (van Empel et al., 1997). Maternal antibodies are commonly found in chickens and turkeys from one day until three weeks old.

List of Symptoms/Signs

Top of page
SignLife StagesType
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Diarrhoea Sign
General Signs / Generalized weakness, paresis, paralysis Sign
General Signs / Inability to stand, downer, prostration Sign
General Signs / Increased mortality in flocks of birds Poultry:All Stages Diagnosis
General Signs / Lack of growth or weight gain, retarded, stunted growth Poultry:Young poultry,Poultry:Cockerel Diagnosis
General Signs / Lameness, stiffness, stilted gait in birds Poultry:Young poultry,Poultry:Cockerel Sign
General Signs / Sudden death, found dead Poultry:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Swelling of the limbs, legs, foot, feet, in birds Sign
General Signs / Trembling, shivering, fasciculations, chilling Poultry:Young poultry,Poultry:Cockerel Sign
General Signs / Underweight, poor condition, thin, emaciated, unthriftiness, ill thrift Sign
General Signs / Weakness, paresis, paralysis of the legs, limbs in birds Poultry:Young poultry,Poultry:Cockerel Sign
General Signs / Weight loss Sign
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Sign
Nervous Signs / Tremor Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Lacrimation, tearing, serous ocular discharge, watery eyes Poultry:All Stages Sign
Reproductive Signs / Decreased hatchability of eggs Poultry:Mature female Sign
Reproductive Signs / Decreased, dropping, egg production Sign
Reproductive Signs / Defective, misshapen, soft, rough, absent egg shell Sign
Reproductive Signs / Soft, thin egg shell Poultry:Mature female Sign
Respiratory Signs / Coughing, coughs Poultry:All Stages Diagnosis
Respiratory Signs / Dyspnea, difficult, open mouth breathing, grunt, gasping Poultry:All Stages Diagnosis
Respiratory Signs / Haemoptysis coughing up blood Poultry:All Stages Diagnosis
Respiratory Signs / Increased respiratory rate, polypnea, tachypnea, hyperpnea Sign
Respiratory Signs / Mucoid nasal discharge, serous, watery Poultry:All Stages Diagnosis
Respiratory Signs / Purulent nasal discharge Sign
Respiratory Signs / Sneezing, sneeze Poultry:All Stages Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Ruffled, ruffling of the feathers Poultry:Young poultry,Poultry:Cockerel Sign

Disease Course

Top of page

O. rhinotracheale infections are characterized by respiratory disease, together with growth retardation and increased mortality rates (Charlton et al., 1993; van Beek et al., 1994; van Empel and Hafez, 1999). Osteitis, meningitis and joint infections, which can be induced by intravenous application, have also been associated with O. rhinotracheale (van Beek et al., 1994; van Empel and Hafez, 1999). Airsacculitis and pneumonia are the most common features of an O. rhinotracheale infection (van Empel and Hafez, 1999).

O. rhinotracheale has been associated with hatching problems in chicken and turkey eggs (El-Gohary, 1998). The bacterium has been isolated from infertile eggs, dead embryos, dead-in-shell chickens and turkeys, and day-old chicks and turkey poults.

In broilers, clinical signs may appear from as early as 2 weeks of age (van Beek et al., 1994), and last until the end of the fattening period (van Beek et al., 1994; Sakai et al., 2000; van Veen et al. 2000a). Clinical signs include a reduction in growth, coughing, sinusitis, sneezing, nasal discharge and lacrimation (van Veen et al., 2000a). Diarrhoea with green faeces, and head tremors have also been reported (Sakai et al., 2000). The mortality rate varies from 1% to more than 10% (van Beek et al., 1994; Hafez, 1996; Sakai et al., 2000; van Veen et al. 2000a). In broiler breeders, O. rhinotracheale has been associated with a decreased egg production of 10 to 38%, at 30 to 38 weeks of age (Youssef and Ahmed, 1996). The birds had mild respiratory symptoms, depressed food intake and increased mortality. Their eggs were small, colourless and had a soft-shell. Infections have occasionally been reported in layers (Sprenger et al., 2000a).

In meat turkeys, O. rhinotracheale infection has been reported at 2-8 weeks of age (van Beek et al., 1994), but disease tends to occur from approximately 14 to 26 weeks of age (Hinz et al., 1994; Amonsin et al., 1997; Abdul-Aziz and Weber, 1999; Roepke et al., 1998). Infection with O. rhinotracheale has been associated with fibrinopurulent pneumonia, and sinusitis, tracheitis, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, pericarditis and facial oedema have also been observed (Hafez, 1996; Back et al., 1998b). Clinical signs include weakness, dyspnoea, gasping and expectoration of blood-stained mucus (Charlton et al., 1993; Hinz et al., 1994; Back et al., 1998b). Cyanosis of the bare area of the head has also been reported (Hinz et al., 1994). Young (10-day-old) turkeys experimentally infected with O. rhinotracheale exhibited shivering, crowding, rhinitis, dyspnoea and apathy (Ryll et al., 1996). Decreased weight gain has been observed in field outbreaks and after experimental infection (Abdul-Aziz and Weber, 1999; Roepke et al., 1998; Sprenger et al., 1998). A mortality rate of 1 to 7% has typically been reported for turkeys (Hinz et al., 1994; Amonsin et al., 1997; Abdul-Aziz and Weber, 1999; Lombardi et al., 1999), although it can reach higher than 10% (Back et al., 1998b). Under field conditions, older turkeys (16 to 24 weeks old) appear to suffer more severely than younger birds (Hinz et al., 1994). Roepke et al. (1998) found that the severity of clinical signs and mortality increased with age. In turkey layers, a severe respiratory disease with an increased mortality rate and a significant drop in egg production has been found at 52 weeks of age (Joubert et al., 1999).

Early attempts at experimentally infecting chickens and turkeys by intra-air sac or aerosol administration of O. rhinotracheale reproduced some, but not all, of the clinical signs observed in clinical outbreaks (van Empel et al., 1996). Clinical signs seen in outbreaks, such as weakness, dyspnoea, mucus discharge and mortality were not observed after experimental infection (van Empel et al., 1996). It has been suggested that this discrepancy between natural and experimental O. rhinotracheale infection might be explained by differences in predisposing and aggravating factors. Turkey rhinotracheitis virus has been found to have a triggering effect on O. rhinotracheale infection in turkeys (van Empel et al., 1996). Newcastle disease virus (NDV), and to a lesser extent, infectious bronchitis virus, have been found to have triggering effects on O. rhinotracheale infection in chickens (Travers 1996; van Empel et al., 1996; van Empel et al., 1999). Under field conditions, other factors can also be of importance such as stress, high stocking density, poor ventilation, presence of other bacteria or high ammonia levels.

Sprenger et al. (1998) reported the first experimental production of clinical disease, mortality and pathology resembling that of field infections by using O. rhinotracheale alone. Within 24 h after intratracheal inoculation, turkeys (22-week-old males) were depressed, coughing and had decreased feed intake. By 48 h, several birds were coughing up blood and died. Turkeys that survived to day 7 after inoculation had severe, subacute pneumonia. Van Veen et al. (2000b) were able to induce lesions in chickens after aerosol challenge with O. rhinotracheale without priming with virus, showing that O. rhinotracheale is a primary pathogen in chickens.


Top of page

O. rhinotracheale is found in wild birds as well as chickens and turkeys (Vandamme et al., 1994). In order to determine the molecular epidemiology of O. rhinotracheale, Amonsin et al. (1997) characterized 55 isolates from poultry and wild birds from eight countries on four continents. They found that the majority of O. rhinotracheale isolates recovered from domesticated poultry throughout the world are represented by a small group of closely related clones. Virtually all the O. rhinotracheale isolates recovered from poultry were assigned to the ET 1 complex. In contrast, none of the four isolates from rooks or guinea fowl were assigned to the common ET 1 complex. The paucity of variation in O. rhinotracheale isolates from domesticated poultry suggests that this organism has had a relatively short evolutionary history in this population. The available evidence suggests that the bacterium was recently introduced to domesticated poultry from the wild bird populations.

O. rhinotracheale can be transmitted horizontally by aerosol (van Empel and Hafez, 1999). The occurrence of O. rhinotracheale infections in birds at an early age (Léorat et al., 1994; van Beek et al., 1994), and the presence of maternally-derived antibodies in broiler and turkey flocks (van Empel et al., 1997), indicates that the breeders of these flocks are in contact with O. rhinotracheale. Therefore, transmission by eggs may occur. The isolation of the organism from ovaries and oviducts of turkeys following experimental infection (Back et al., 1998b) supports the possibility of such vertical transmission. Varga et al. (2001) investigated the survival of O. rhinotracheale on eggshell and within chicken eggs during hatching. At 37°C, O. rhinotracheale did not survive on the eggshell for more than 24 hours, while upon inoculation into embryonated chicken eggs it killed embryos by the ninth day, and from the fourteenth day post-inoculation no O. rhinotracheale could be cultured. These results suggest that O. rhinotracheale is not transmitted via eggs during hatching.

Impact: Economic

Top of page

Economic losses resulting from O. rhinotracheale infection are hard to estimate. The disease generally causes increased mortality, varying from 1% to higher than 10% (Hinz et al., 1994; van Beek et al., 1994; Hafez, 1996; Back et al., 1998b; Lombardi et al., 1999; Sakai et al., 2000) and growth retardation (van Beek et al., 1994; van Empel et al., 1996; van Veen et al., 2000a), which is difficult to determine. In layers, a significant drop in egg production has been reported (Joubert et al., 1999). Condemnation of carcasses due to airsacculitis in infected chickens and turkeys may cause additional economic losses (Back et al., 1998b). In the Netherlands, substantial financial losses have occurred due to high condemnation rates (up to 90%) of broilers at slaughter, with purulent airsacculitis as a prominent finding (van Veen et al., 2000a). A condemnation rate of 60% due to hydrops ascites, polyserositis and intra-abdominal concretions in broilers has been reported (van Veen et al., 2000a).

Zoonoses and Food Safety

Top of page

O. rhinotracheale has no known zoonotic significance (Chin and Droual, 1997).

Disease Treatment

Top of page

There is no specific treatment for O. rhinotracheale infection. Therapeutic treatment of the disease can be difficult because acquired resistance against the regular antibiotics is very common (van Empel and Hafez, 1999). In suspected cases of O. rhinotracheale infection, identification of bacterial isolates and antimicrobial susceptibility testing is recommended. However, establishing the antibiotic sensitivity of O. rhinotracheale is difficult because of the organism’s complex growth requirements and the frequent occurrence of resistance (Devriese et al., 2001). Antibiotics have been used as part of an O. rhinotracheale treatment programme either singly or in a combination of oxytetracyclines in the water, chlortetracycline in the feed, or spectinomycin, ceftiofur, and penicillin by injection (Chin and Droual, 1997).

Devriese et al. (1995) investigated the antibiotic sensitivity of 14 strains of O. rhinotracheale from poultry and wild birds. They found that acquired antibiotic resistance is exceptionally frequent in isolates from poultry. Unlike the strains from wild birds, strains from gallinaceous birds had acquired resistance to penicillin-cephalosporin antibiotics and lincosamide and macrolide antibiotics. The resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics was relatively low. Acquired resistance was also frequently seen with quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics. Minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of sulphamethoxazole-trimethoprim and spectinomycin were high, but no acquired resistance was evident. In a later study, Devriese et al. (2001) determined the minimal inhibitory concentrations of ten antibiotics (ampicillin, tylosin, lincomycin, doxycycline, ceftiofur, spiramycin, tilmicosin, flumequine, enrofloxacin and tiamulin) for 45 strains of O. rhinotracheale from Belgian broilers, collected between 1995 and 1998. They were compared with the type strain and a strain isolated from a rook. All the broiler strains were resistant to lincomycin and to the ß-lactams ampicillin and ceftiofur. Less than 10% of the strains were sensitive to the macrolides, tylosin and spiramycin, tilmicosin and flumequine. A few strains were sensitive to enrofloxacin and doxycycline while all strains were sensitive to tiamulin.

Fitzgerald et al. (1998) tested 25 O. rhinotracheale isolates for their susceptibility to fosfomycin (Fosbac). Ten of the isolates were susceptible to fosfomycin (MIC values <128 µg/ml) and all of these were able to agglutinate chicken red blood cells. The remaining 15 isolates were resistant to fosfomycin, with only five of these being able to agglutinate red blood cells, suggesting that there may be a correlation between susceptibility to fosfomycin and the ability to agglutinate red blood cells.

Varga et al. (2001) examined the antibiotic susceptibility of 12 O. rhinotracheale strains isolated from chickens and turkeys. Among the drugs examined, penicillin G, ampicillin (MICs ranging from =0.06 µg/ml to 1 µg/ml), ceftazidim (with MICs from =0.06 µg/ml to 0.12 µg/ml), erythromycin, tylosin, tilmicosin (with some exceptions MICs ranged from =0.06 µg/ml to 1 µg/ml) and tiamulin (MICs varied from =0.06 µg/ml to 2 µg/ml) were the most effective. Lincomycin, oxytetracycline and enrofloxacin also gave good inhibitions, but with most strains in a higher concentration (MICs ranged in most cases from 2 µg/ml to 8 µg/ml). The other antibiotics inhibited the growth of O. rhinotracheale only in a very high concentration (colistin) or not at all (apramycin, spectinomycin, polymyxin B).

Cefquinome and tilmicosin exhibited good in vitro antibacterial activity against O. rhinotracheale strains of poultry origin. The minimum inhibitory concentrations were 1.562 µg/ml and 0.78 µg/ml, respectively (Ak et al., 2001).

Prevention and Control

Top of page

Live and inactivated vaccines are being developed.

In early vaccination trials, van Empel and van den Bosch (1998) vaccinated broilers with autogenous inactivated vaccines (bacterins), but the success depended on the adjuvant used. Good protection of young broilers with maternal antibodies was only achieved using potent oil adjuvants, which are known to induce some local reactions. Vaccination of broiler breeders with inactivated vaccine in mineral-oil adjuvant resulted in high serological responses and long-lasting protection. The progeny of these birds were protected against challenge with O. rhinotracheale up to about 4 weeks of age. Vaccination of young broilers with live O. rhinotracheale was effective when the maternal antibody levels were low. The conclusion of the vaccination trials was that the most practical approach seems to be a combination of vaccinating the breeders with a bacterin and their progeny with a live vaccine at 2-3 weeks of age.

Sprenger et al. (2000b) vaccinated turkeys intra-nasally with a live vaccine or subcutaneously with a killed vaccine at 6 weeks of age. The birds were challenged with O. rhinotracheale at 14 or 21 weeks of age. Turkeys inoculated with both the live and killed vaccines were protected from pathological changes.


Top of page

Abdul-Aziz TA; Weber LJ, 1999. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection in a turkey flock in Ontario. Canadian Veterinary Journal, 40(5):349-350; 5 ref.

Ak S; Keles O; Bakirel T, 2001. In vitro antibacterial activities of tilmicosin and cefquinome alone or in combination against certain poultry pathogens. Türk Veterinerlik ve Hayvancilik Dergisi, 25(4):577-580; 19 ref.

Amonsin A; Wellehan JFX; Li LingLing; Vandamme P; Lindeman C; Edman M; Robinson R; Kapur V, 1997. Molecular epidemiology of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 35(11):2894-2898; 19 ref.

Back A; Halvorson D; Rajashekara G; Nagaraja KV, 1998. Development of a serum plate agglutination test to detect antibodies to Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 10(1):84-86; 11 ref.

Back A; Rajashekara G; Jeremiah RB; Halvorson DA; Nagaraja KV, 1998. Tissue distribution of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale in experimentally infected turkeys. Veterinary Record, 143(2):52-53; 10 ref.

Banani M et al., 2000. Isolation and identification of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale from a broiler and a pullet flock. Pajouhesh-va-Sazandegi, 46:106-109.

Charlton BR; Channing-Santiago SE; Bickford AA; Cardona CJ; Chin RP; Cooper GL; Droual R; Jeffrey JS; Meteyer CU; Shivaprasad HL; Walker RL, 1993. Preliminary characterization of a pleomorphic gram-negative rod associated with avian respiratory disease. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 5(1):47-51; 8 ref.

Chin RP; Droual R, 1997. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection. In: Calnek BW, Barnes HJ, Beard CW, McDougald LR, Saif YM, eds. Diseases of Poultry, 10th ed. Ames, USA: Iowa State University Press, 1012-1015.

Devriese LA; de Herdt P; Haesebrouck F, 2001. Antibiotic sensitivity and resistance in Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale strains from Belgian broiler chickens. Avian Pathology, 30(3):197-200.

Devriese LA; Hommez J; Vandamme P; Kersters K; Haesebrouck F, 1995. In vitro antibiotic sensitivity of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale strains from poultry and wild birds. Veterinary Record, 137(17):435-436; 7 ref.

El-Gohary AA, 1998. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (ORT) associated with hatching problems in chicken and turkey eggs. Veterinary Medical Journal Giza, 46(2):183-191; 19 ref.

Elgohary AA; Awaad MHH, 1998. Concomitant Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (ORT) and E. coli infection in chicken broilers. Veterinary Medical Journal Giza, 46(1):67-75; 17 ref.

El-Shamy SA; Hussein SZ; Bayoumi AH, 2000. Morphological and aetiological studies on pneumonia in Turkey: ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection. Assiut Veterinary Medical Journal, 43(86):338-349; 27 ref.

Empel Pvan; Bosch Hvan den, 1998. Vaccination of chickens against Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection. Avian Diseases, 42(3):572-578; 14 ref.

Empel Pvan; Bosch Hvan den; Goovaerts D; Storm P, 1996. Experimental infection in turkeys and chickens with Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale. Avian Diseases, 40(4):858-864; 7 ref.

Empel Pvan; Bosch Hvan den; Loeffen P; Storm P, 1997. Identification and serotyping of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 35(2):418-421; 9 ref.

Empel Pvan; Vrijenhoek M; Goovaerts D; Bosch Hvan den, 1999. Immunohistochemical and serological investigation of experimental Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection in chickens. Avian Pathology, 28(2):187-193; 14 ref.

Fitzgerald SL; Greyling JM; Bragg RR, 1998. Correlation between ability of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale to agglutinate red blood cells and susceptibility to fosfomycin. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 65(4):317-320; 19 ref.

Hafez HM, 1996. Current status on the role of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (ORT) in respiratory disease complexes in poultry. Archiv für Geflügelkunde, 60(5):208-211; 11 ref.

Hafez HM; Friedrich S, 1998. Isolation of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale from a turkey in Austria. Tierärztliche Umschau, 53(8):500,503-504; [23 ref].

Hafez HM; Mazaheri A; Sting R, 2000. Efficacy of ELISA for detection of antibodies against several Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale serotypes. Deutsche Tierärztliche Wochenschrift, 107(4):142-143; 17 ref.

Hafez HM; Sting R, 1999. Investigations on different Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale "ORT" isolates. Avian Diseases, 43(1):1-7; 18 ref.

Hinz KH; Blome C; Ryll M, 1994. Acute exudative pneumonia and airsacculitis associated with Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale in turkeys. Veterinary Record, 135(10):233-234; 4 ref.

Joubert P; Higgins R; Laperle A; Mikaelian I; Venne D; Silim A, 1999. Isolation of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale from turkeys in Quebec, Canada. Avian Diseases, 43(3):622-626; 8 ref.

Léorat J; Dudouyt C; Doré C; Gardin Y, 1994. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale: une nouvelle raison de tousser. Filières Avicoles, 559:69-70.

Leroy-Sétrin S; Flaujac G; Thénaisy K; Chaslus-Dancla E, 1998. Genetic diversity of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale strains isolated from poultry in France. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 26(3):189-193; 16 ref.

Lombardi G; Vinco LJ; Belloni GP; Alborali GL, 1999. Incidence of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (ORT) in some turkey farms in Northern Italy: field observations and diagnosis. Selezione Veterinaria, No. 8/9:595-602; 15 ref.

Odor EM; Salem M; Pope CR; Sample B; Primm M; Vance K; Murphy M, 1997. Isolation and identification of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale from commercial broiler flocks on the Delmarva Peninsula. Avian Diseases, 41(1):257-260; 13 ref.

Pagès A; Foix A; March R; Artigas C, 1995. Bacteriological study of an agent associated with respiratory disorders in broiler fowls: Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale. Medicina Veterinaria, 12(10):585-588; 5 ref.

Post KW; Murphy SC; Boyette JB; Resseguie PM, 1999. Evaluation of a commercial system for the identification of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 11(1):97-99; 11 ref.

Roepke DC; Back A; Shaw DP; Nagaraja KV; Sprenger SJ; Halvorson DA, 1998. Isolation and identification of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale from commercial turkey flocks in the upper midwest. Avian Diseases, 42(1):219-221; 7 ref.

Rosa Mde; Droual R; Chin RP; Shivaprasad HL; Walker RL, 1996. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection in turkey breeders. Avian Diseases, 40(4):865-874; 15 ref.

Ryll M; Hinz KH; Neumann U; Löhren U; Südbeck M; Steinhagen D, 1997. Pilot study on the prevalence of the Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection in meat-type chickens in northwest Germany. Berliner und Münchener Tierärztliche Wochenschrift, 110(7/8):267-271; 16 ref.

Ryll M; Hinz KH; Salisch H; Kruse W, 1996. Pathogenicity of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale for turkey poults under experimental conditions. Veterinary Record, 139(1):19; 5 ref.

Sakai E et al., 2000. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection in Japan: preliminary investigations. Veterinary Record, 146(17):502-504.

Sprenger SJ et al., 2000. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection in commercial laying-type chickens. Avian Diseases, 44(3):725-729.

Sprenger SJ; Back A; Shaw DP; Nagaraja KV; Roepke DC; Halvorson DA, 1998. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection in turkeys: experimental reproduction of the disease. Avian Diseases, 42(1):154-161; 19 ref.

Sprenger SJ; Halvorson DA; Shaw DP; Nagaraja KV, 2000. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection in turkeys: immunoprophylaxis studies. Avian Diseases, 44(3):549-555; 17 ref.

Tanyi J; Bistyák A; Kaszanyitzky E; Vetési F; Dobos-Kovács M, 1995. Isolation of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale from chicks, hens and turkeys with respiratory symptoms. Preliminary report. Magyar állatorvosok Lapja, 50(6):328-330; 6 ref.

Travers AF, 1996. Concomitant Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale and Newcastle disease infection in broilers in South Africa. Avian Diseases, 40(2):488-490; 7 ref.

Travers AF; Coetzee L; Gummow B, 1996. Pathogenicity differences between South African isolates of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 63(3):197-207; 12 ref.

van Beek PNGM et al., 1994. Ademhalingsproblemen, groeivertraging en gewrichtsontsteking bij kalkoenen en vleeskuikens door een Pasteurella-achtige bacterie: Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale of 'taxon 28'. Tijdschrift voor Diergeneeskunde, 119(4):99-101.

van Empel PCM; Hafez HM, 1999. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale: a review. Avian Pathology, 28(3):217-227.

van Veen L; Gruys E; Frik K; van Empel P, 2000. Increased condemnation of broilers associated with Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale. Veterinary Record, 147(15):422-423.

Vandamme P; Segers P; Vancanneyt M; Hove Kvan; Mutters R; Hommez J; Dewhirst F; Paster B; Kersters K; Falsen E; Devriese LA; Bisgaard M; Hinz KH; Mannheim W, 1994. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale gen. nov., sp. nov., isolated from the avian respiratory tract. International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, 44(1):24-37; 59 ref.

Varga J; Fodor L; Makrai L, 2001. Characterisation of some Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale strains and examination of their transmission via eggs. Acta Veterinaria Hungarica, 49(2):125-130; 18 ref.

Veen Lvan; Empel Pvan; Fabri T, 2000. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale, a primary pathogen in broilers. Avian Diseases, 44(4):896-900; 6 ref.

Youssef NMA; Ahmed MHH, 1996. Serological studies on flocks showing depressed egg production. Veterinary Medical Journal Giza, 44(4):719-726; 10 ref.

Zorman-Rojs O; Zdovc I; Bencina D; Mrzel I, 2000. Infection of turkeys with Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale and Mycoplasma synoviae. Avian Diseases, 44(4):1017-1022.

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map