Detection of Avibacterium paragallinarum by

Veterinary World, EISSN: 2231-0916
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Open Access
Detection of Avibacterium paragallinarum by Polymerase chain reaction
from outbreaks of Infectious coryza of poultry in Andhra Pradesh
T. M. Nabeel Muhammad and B. Sreedevi
Department of Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Science, Sri Venkateswara
Veterinary University, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India
Corresponding author: B. Sreedevi, e-mail: [email protected], TMN: [email protected]
Received: 18-09-2014, Revised: 15-12-2014, Accepted: 22-12-2014, Published online: 29-01-2015
doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2015.103-108. How to cite article: Nabeel Muhammad TM, Sreedevi B (2015) Detection of
Avibacterium paragallinarum by Polymerase chain reaction from outbreaks of Infectious coryza of poultry in Andhra Pradesh,
Veterinary World, 8(1): 103-108.
Aim: This study was carried out for the detection of Avibacterium paragallinarum from outbreaks of infectious coryza of
Materials and Methods: The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was standardized for the diagnosis of infectious coryza by
using infectious coryza Killed vaccine, ventri biologicals, Pune as source of DNA of A. paragallinarum. Five outbreaks of
infectious coryza from Andhra Pradesh were investigated in the present study. A total of 56 infra orbital sinus swabs and 22
nasal swabs were tested by PCR.
Results: PCR analysis showed 56 positives (71.7%) for infectious coryza out of total 78 samples tested. Of 56 infra orbital
sinus swabs tested, 47 were positive (83.9%) and 9 nasal swabs (40.9%) out of 22 tested had given positive results for
infectious coryza. Samples collected from birds at acute stage of disease and samples collected before treatment with
antibiotics were given better results on PCR.
Conclusion: For preventing the economic losses associated with the disease, an early, accurate and rapid diagnosis is
essential. PCR is a rapid and highly sensitive diagnostic technique which can substitute conventional cultural examination.
Keywords: infectious coryza, polymerase chain reaction, poultry
A group of respiratory diseases, often called as
respiratory disease complex which produces closely
resembling symptoms, mixed infections of respiratory
system with multiple etiologies are contributing to the
complexity in the proper diagnosis and differentiation
of respiratory diseases. Infectious coryza is a respiratory disease of chickens caused by the bacterium,
Avibacterium paragallinarum primarily affecting
upper respiratory tract, including the involvement of
nasal passages, infra orbital and paranasal sinuses.
Infectious coryza is a cosmopolitan disease,
which has been reported from all around the world
where chickens are raised including India. The economic losses associated with infectious coryza
results from poor growth performance in growing
birds including broilers, marked reduction (10-40%)
in egg production in layers and increased culling
rates in meat chickens. Chronically infected birds or
recovered healthy birds act as reservoirs of infection
in a population and makes the disease endemic in an
area [1,2].
The disease is recognized as a cause of significant loss to the poultry industry all over the world. For
reducing the economic losses associated with this disease, early, rapid and accurate diagnosis is essential.
Copyright: The authors. This article is an open access article licensed
under the terms of the Creative Commons Attributin License (http://
creative which permits unrestricted
use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the
work is properly cited.
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In developing countries, conventional diagnosis of
infectious coryza is based on clinical signs, demonstration of satellite colonies by cultural examination
and confirmation is by biochemical tests. However,
the factors like simultaneous occurrence of combined
respiratory infections, occurrence of NAD independent strains, overgrowth of fast growing bacteria,
which are masking the growth of A. paragallinarum,
requirement of special media for culturing, presence
of different biovars, etc. makes the confirmatory diagnosis difficult. Hence, nucleic acid based techniques
are the best alternative tools in the easy and rapid confirmatory diagnosis.
The present study was taken up to detect
A. paragallinarum by Polymerase chain reaction
from outbreaks of Infectious coryza of poultry in
Andhra Pradesh
Materials and Methods
Ethical approval
All samples were collected as per standard collection procedure.
Collection of samples
The samples used in the study were collected
from suspected outbreaks of infectious coryza from
Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari and Chittoor districts
of Andhra Pradesh according to the method described
previously [3] in which 56 samples were infra orbital
sinus swabs and 22 were nasal swabs. Samples consisted of swabs from three commercial poultry farms
Available at
and two backyard flocks of Aseel chicken of different age groups with no history of vaccination against
infectious coryza. Swabs were collected aseptically
and soaked in 30% glycerol-phosphate buffered
saline [4]. The samples were transported to the laboratory in ice pack at the earliest and stored at −20°C.
DNA extraction
The standard phenol- chloroform method
described previously [5] was employed for the
extraction of A. paragallinarum DNA with necessary modifications. Briefly, 567 μl of sample was
mixed with 30 μl of 10% Sodium Do-decyl Sulfate
(SDS) and 3 μl of proteinase-K (20 μg/ml) and incubated at 37°C for one hour. Equal volume of phenol:
Chloroform solution was added and vortexed properly
and centrifuged at 13000 rpm for 10 minutes at 4°C.
The supernatant was taken out carefully and the phenol-chloroform extraction was repeated. Final supernatant was taken and mixed with 2.5 volume of chilled
absolute ethanol and 1/10th volume of 3M Sodium
acetate (pH-5.2) and kept at −20°C for overnight. The
tube was centrifuged at 13000 rpm for 10 min, the pellet was washed with 70% chilled ethanol, air dried and
dissolved in 30 μl of tris-ethylenediaminetetraacetic
acid (TE) buffer and stored at −20°C until use.
The purity of the extracted DNA was assessed by
spectrophotometer. The DNA was diluted in TE buffer
and absorbency at 260 nm and 280 nm was recorded.
The ratio of the absorbance at 260 and 280 nm was calculated. The sample giving a ratio of 1.8 or above was
considered as pure DNA and used for further steps of
the study [5]. Quantification of DNA was carried out
by using Ethidium bromide binding assay and U.V.
spectrophotometer reading as per the procedure out
lined previously [5]. The DNA was diluted to 5 ng per
μl of TE buffer. The DNA extracted from the infectious coryza killed vaccine (Ventri Biologicals, Pune)
was used as standard DNA in the present study. It was
used for standardization of polymerase chain reaction
(PCR) protocol and as positive control in PCR test for
field samples.
The primers described by previous works were
used in the present study [6]. The sequence was TGA
GGG TAG TCT TGC ACG CGA AT (23 bp) for forward primer and CAA GGT ATC GAT CGT CTC
TCT ACT (24 bp) for the reverse primer. The Red
Dye PCR Master mix (Genei, Bangalore) was used
for PCR reaction which contains premixed dNTPs,
Taq polymerase, MgCl2 and buffer at optimum concentrations. The gel loading dye was also incorporated
to the master mix. About 25 μl reactions were used
and the protocol was initially standardized for optimizing the concentration of components of the reaction mixture in the PCR assay and then by varying
the annealing temperature and cycling conditions [6]
using Kyratec Supercycler SC200 thermocycler. The
PCR product was stored at -20°C until use.
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The standardized protocol was used in PCR for
field samples collected. The reaction volume used was
25 μl in which 12.5 μl of red dye master mix along
with 3 μl of target DNA, 0.5 μl each of primers and
8.5 μl of molecular biology grade water were used.
Initially the tubes were exposed to 94°C for 2.5 min
for denaturation. Then 30 cycles of denaturation at
94°C (1 min), annealing at 58°C (1 min), extension
at 72°C (2 min) was carried out. The reaction was at
72°C for 10 min for final elongation before bringing
to the final holding temperature of 4°C.
The PCR amplified product was analyzed by electrophoresis in two percent agarose gels and visualized
by ethidium bromide staining. About 10 μl of the PCR
product along with gel loading dye was loaded to the
wells. The electrophoresis was performed at a voltage
of 5 Volt/cm of the gel. After sufficient migration, the
gels were taken to gel documentation system (Alpha
Innotech) and the results were recorded. Appropriate
positive and negative controls were included in the
PCR reaction.
During the present study, five suspected outbreaks of infectious coryza from Andhra Pradesh
were investigated which included outbreaks in commercial poultry and native Aseel chicken. The birds
were showing signs of acute upper respiratory tract
infections like coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge,
facial edema, edema of wattle and comb and lacrimation and conjunctivitis. Anorexia and prominent infra
orbital sinus swelling were observed. Most prominent
features of infectious coryza are an acute inflammation of the upper respiratory tract including the
involvement of nasal passages and sinus with a serous
to mucoid nasal discharge, facial edema and conjunctivitis [Figures-1-3].
Outbreaks were reported from two layer farms
which were following multi-age farming with a morbidity of 25-30% and the mortality of 5% to 10%.
Morbidity of 40% and mortality of 10% were recorded
along with reduced growth rate in the broiler farm
from which was a small scale farm with a flock size of
20, 000. Poor hygienic and biosecurity measures were
Figure-1: A layer bird showing ocular discharge and infra
orbital sinus swelling
Available at
Standardization of PCR
PCR was carried out as described under materials and methods. The size of the amplified product
was analyzed by agarose gel electrophoresis using
standard DNA molecular size marker. The size of the
amplified product was 500 bp, which was the size of
the amplicon defined by selected primers. No amplification was observed in negative control indicating that
amplicon was specific to bacteria A. paragallinarum.
Screening of field samples for infectious coryza by
applying PCR
Figure-2: An adult Aseel bird suffering from infectious
coryza showing facial oedema and sinus swelling
Figure-3: Airsacculitis in a commercial chicken suffering
from infectious coryza
observed and this farm had the history of infectious
coryza outbreak in the previous batch also. Generally,
infectious coryza is characterized by high morbidity and low mortality with a drop of 10-40% in egg
production. The higher production losses could be
because of the stress on the birds, climatic conditions,
presence of opportunistic pathogens, bio security and
hygiene of the farm, parasitism etc. The Chronic or
healthy carrier birds were recognized as the main reservoir of the infection and the multi-aged farms are at
a higher risk of infectious coryza because of this reason. During the post-mortem examination, there was
no characteristic feature of any other respiratory viral
pathogen. Infra orbital sinus swelling typical to infectious coryza was very evident. The commercial flocks
were vaccinated against Newcastle disease (ND),
Infectious Bronchitis, Infectious Bursal Disease. The
Aseel flocks were vaccinated against ND. No attempt
was made to isolate any viral pathogens.
DNA extraction
The presence of DNA extracted from vaccine was
confirmed by agarose gel electrophoresis followed by
ethidium bromide staining. When viewed under UV
transilluminator, a single band of DNA was observed
in the gel, just below the well in all the samples. The
A260/A280 ratio of 1.8 or more was obtained for all
the samples from vaccine.
Veterinary World, EISSN: 2231-0916
The standardized protocol was used to screen
the field samples. The results of PCR analysis showed
56 positives (71.7%) for infectious coryza out of
total 78 samples tested. Out of 56 infra orbital sinus
swabs tested, 47 were positive (83.9%) and 9 nasal
swabs (40.9%) out of 22 tested had given positive
results for infectious coryza [Figure-4]. Samples
from Vijayawada outbreak gave 100% (15 out of 15)
positivity for infra orbital sinus and 57% (four out
of seven) positives for nasal swabs. Samples from
Tenali showed 93.3% (14 out of 15) positivity for
infra orbital sinus and 60% (three out of five) positivity for nasal swabs. Outbreak from Tirupati showed
83.3% (10 out of 12) positivity for infra orbital sinus
swabs and all the nasal swabs were negative. Samples
collected from BN Kandriga showed 80% (eight out
of 10) positivity for infra orbital sinus swabs and 50%
positivity for nasal swabs. All the samples tested from
Dwarapudi gave negative results in PCR [Table-1].
The combined PCR results of both infra orbital sinus
swabs and nasal swabs showed 86.3% positive samples from Vijayawada (19 out of 22) followed by 85%
from Tenali (17 out of 20), 71.4% each from Tirupati
and BN Kandriga (10 out of 14 each). Out of the
total 74 infra orbital sinus swabs tested, PCR gave
47 (83.9%) positive results whereas cultural examination showed only 20 (40%) positive results (details of
cultural examination of samples not mentioned in this
Infectious coryza is an upper respiratory tract
disease of poultry with considerable economic
impact, particularly in multi aged farms. The isolation and identification of the causative agent, of
A. paragallinarum is difficult and demanding. The
conventional diagnosis of infectious coryza is based
on the appearance of typical clinical signs, isolation of satellitic organisms and further biochemical
characterization [3,7]. But the dependence or the
hemophilic nature of (requirement of V factor or
NAD) A. paragallinarum is complicated by many
facts. A. paragallinarum is a slow growing organism which will take 36-48 h or even more time to
show detectable colonies. But the vigorous growth
of the bacteria, which are in co-infection will mask
the growth of the A. paragallinarum and the satellitic
growth may not be appreciated. Two nonpathogenic,
Available at
Table-1: The results of screening of infectious coryza suspected field samples by PCR
BN Kandriga
West Godavari
No. of samples Screened
by PCR
No. of samples positive
in PCR
Infra orbital
sinus swabs
Infra orbital
sinus swabs (%)
swabs (%)
15 (100)
0 (0)
14 (93.3)
10 (83.3)
8 (80)
47 (83.9)
4 (57)
0 (0)
3 (60)
0 (0)
2 (50)
9 (40.9)
19 (86.3)
0 (0)
17 (85)
10 (71.4)
10 (71.4)
56 (71.7)
PCR: Polymerase chain reaction
Figure-4: 500 bp polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
amplification product of Avibacterium paragellinarum
from infectious coryza field samples. Line 1 and 6: 100 bp
molecular weight marker, Lane 2-5: PCR amplified product
of A. paragellinarum
hemophilus bacteria named Avibacterium avium
and Avibacterium volatinum, which are the part of
normal flora of the chicken show satellitic colony
growth similar to that of A. paragallinarum on blood
agar. The reports of emergence of NAD-independent
A. paragallinarum, which will not show satellitic
growth again complicated this conventional method
of identification [6].
Diagnosis of the infectious coryza can be more
complicated when it co-occurs with other pathogens, especially bacteria like Pasteurella multocida,
Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale, Salmonella species etc. [8,9]. Further complications can be contributed by the presence of opportunistic pathogens like Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas, Proteus,
Staphylococcus species, Streptococcus species,
Corynebacterium etc. during the cultural examination of samples from suspected infectious coryza
cases [10-13]. Typical isolates of the A. paragallinarum have strict nutritional demands when grown
in-vitro, meaning that complex media with costly
ingredients such as NAD, oleic albumin complex,
chicken serum and thiamine must be used to obtain
pure cultures [3]. Some complex media, like supplemented test medium agar (TM/SN) and Hemophilus
maintenance medium described previously are proven
useful for characterization tests following isolation
but not suitable for isolation [14].
Veterinary World, EISSN: 2231-0916
The difficulties associated with conventional
culture method and biochemical characterization of
infectious coryza made the molecular technique, PCR
attractive. There was no standard culture of A. paragallinarum readily available in the country and obtaining it from other countries was very difficult due to
strict biosecurity norms adopted in the country. Hence,
DNA of A. paragallinarum were isolated from infectious coryza killed vaccine, produced by ventri biologicals, Pune which contains page reference strains
0083 (A-1), and Modesto (C-2). The primers used in
the present study were described by previous workers [6] and it was successfully used by many others
worldwide [12,15-17]. A 30 cycle PCR reaction with
annealing temperature of 58°C for 1 min was found
to be optimum for amplification of 500 bp products.
The samples collected from fresh outbreaks
within two to three days of onset of clinical signs where
the birds were at acute stage of disease and before the
commencement of antibiotic treatment (samples from
Vijayawada and Tenali) showed more percentage of
positive results than samples collected from the flocks
which were ailing from the disease for few weeks and
those with antibiotic treatment (ciprofloxacin/enrofloxacin). Samples from the flock from Dwarapudi,
which were at the convalescent stage of disease due
to effective antibiotic treatment showed all negative
for PCR test. Samples from the acute stage of the disease for accurate diagnosis of infectious coryza were
recommended by previous workers [3]. Antibiotic
treatment significantly reduced the capacity of both
conventional cultural examination and PCR test to
detect A. paragallinarum [4]. The better performance
of PCR against cultural examination for field samples
probably reflects the difficulties in obtaining samples of good enough quality to ensure the growth of
fragile A. paragallinarum in-vitro [4]. The false negative results and expense of test can be significantly
reduced, if the PCR test is being applied as a flock test
as recommended by previous workers [18] by pooling
of samples from two to three birds instead of examining samples from individual birds separately.
Two flocks of Aseel chicken, one was backyard flock and the other was exclusively reared for
cockfighting found to have suffering from infectious
coryza. The flock from BN Kandriga, which was a
Available at
backyard flock, was experiencing relapse of disease
outbreaks at frequent intervals for past 6 months with
high morbidity and mortality in freshly hatched out
chicks. This flock was being treated for coccidiosis
and was housed in a congested and unhygienic shed
along with goose, ducks and guinea fowls which were
showing no signs of disease. The ducks were found
refractory to experimental infection [19]. A previous
survey conducted [20] on infectious coryza in native
chicken in Indonesia reported eight to 30% positive
rate of antibody against A. paragallinarum and stressed
the need of vaccination against infectious coryza in
native chickens of Indonesia. A. paragallinarum was
isolated from a game cock from Metro Manila district of Philippines [21]. Four isolates of A. paragallinarum were obtained from native Kampung chickens
of Indonesia and observed that infectious coryza can
be present in less intensive production systems [15].
The potential importance of infectious coryza in
less intensive system was supported by the fact that
infectious coryza killed more chicken than any other
disease, including Newcastle disease, in Thai village
chickens [22]. Poor housing, parasitism and inadequate nutrition might be the predisposing factors of
infectious coryza [7]. The disease in Aseel chicken can
pose a serious threat to our backyard poultry wealth
and also can act as a source of infection to the commercial poultry. Hence, the occurrence of the infectious coryza in Aseel and other indigenous breeds of
chicken must be closely monitored and vaccination
must be carried out if it is found to be necessary.
facilities for conducting the research work. We would
like to acknowledge the help offered by Dr.S.S. Prasad,
Deputy General Manager, M/S Srinivasa Hatcheries
Private Limited, Vijayawada in the collection of samples during this study.
Competing Interests
The authors declare that they have no competing
In the present study, three infectious coryza outbreaks were investigated in commercial poultry and
two from Aseel chicken. All the outbreaks showed
similar symptoms with varied intensity. The birds
were showing signs of acute upper respiratory tract
infections like coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge,
facial edema, edema of wattle and comb and lacrimation and conjunctivitis. PCR was standardized for
rapid and accurate diagnosis of infectious coryza and
field samples were screened. The disease, infectious
coryza which was considered to be a disease of commercial chicken was diagnosed in native Aseel chicken
and also in commercial chicken from Andhra Pradesh.
The PCR was as an easier and rapid diagnostic tool
for infectious coryza and found to be highly sensitive
while screening the field samples.
Authors’ Contributions
BS has planned and designed the study. TMN has
conducted the research and analyzed the samples. TMN
prepared the manuscript under the guidance of BS.
Both authors read and approved the final manuscript
We acknowledge College of Veterinary Science,
Tirupati for providing the financial assistance and
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