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Journal Articles Poultry Science Year : 2023

In ovo administration of a phage cocktail partially prevents colibacillosis in chicks


Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) causes colibacillosis, the main bacterial disease in poultry leading to significant economic losses worldwide. Antibiotic treatments favor the emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria, and preventive measures are insufficient to control the disease. There is increasing interest in using the potential of bacteriophages, not only for phage therapy but also for prevention and biocontrol. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a phage cocktail administered in ovo to prevent avian colibacillosis in chicks. When 4 different phages (REC, ESCO3, ESCO47, and ESCO58), stable under avian physiological conditions, were combined and inoculated at 17 embryogenic days (ED), they were transmitted to the newly hatched chicks. In a second trial, the 4-phage cocktail was inoculated into the allantoic fluid at ED16 and after hatch 1-day-old chicks were challenged with the O2 APEC strain BEN4358 inoculated subcutaneously. Two phages (REC and ESCO3) were still detected in the ceca of surviving chicks at the end of the experiment (7-days postinfection). Chicks that received the phages in ovo did not develop colibacillosis lesions and showed a significant decrease in intestinal BEN4358 load (8.00 × 107 CFU/g) compared to the challenged chicks (4.52 × 108 CFU/g). The majority of the reisolated bacteria from the ceca of surviving chicks had developed full resistance to ESCO3 phage, and only 3 were resistant to REC phage. The partially or complete resistance of REC phage induced a considerable cost to bacterial virulence. Here, we showed that phages inoculated in ovo can partially prevent colibacillosis in 1-wk-old chicks. The reduction in the APEC load in the gut and the decreased virulence of some resistant isolates could also contribute to control the disease.
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hal-04205854 , version 1 (13-09-2023)





Marianne Nicolas, Arnaud Faurie, Mylène Girault, Sébastien Lavillatte, Pierrette Menanteau, et al.. In ovo administration of a phage cocktail partially prevents colibacillosis in chicks. Poultry Science, 2023, 102 (11), pp.102967. ⟨10.1016/j.psj.2023.102967⟩. ⟨hal-04205854⟩
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