Bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus
referred to as Staphylococci, are saprophytic bacteria that colonize the surface of the skin and mucous membranes of humans and animals, including poultry. Staphylococci are also abundant in the environment and found in soil, air, dust and water. Staphylococci commonly contaminate hatcheries and poultry farms. Staphylococcosis is a term used to describe several clinical syndromes in poultry caused by infection with Staphylococcus
spp. Infection occurs after staphylococci penetrates through damaged skin or mucous membrane or infiltration from internal tissues within the body. Disease occurs when the bird’s immune system is compromised.
species which are known to infect poultry include >S. agnetis
, S. aureus
, S. auricularis
, S. capitis
, S. caprae
, S. carnosus
, S. caseolyticus
, S. chromogenes
, S. cohnii
, S. condimenti
, S. epidermidis
, S. equorum
, S. felis
, S. gallinarum
, S. haemolyticus
, S. hominis
, S. hyicus
, S. intermedius
, S. kloosii
, S. lentus
, S. lugdunensis
, S. pasteuri
, S. pettenkoferi
, S. pisifermentans
, S. pseudintermedius
, S. saprophyticus
, S. schleiferi
, S. sciuri
, S. simiae
, S. simulans
, S. ureilyticus
, S. vitulinus
, S. warneri
, and S. xylosus
-associated infections associated with the skeletal system in poultry include bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO), osteomyelitis, bumblefoot (footpad dermatitis, ulcerative pododermatitis), tenosynovitis, spondylitis (vertebral osteomyelitis), dyschodroplasia with osteomyelitis, turkey osteomyelitis complex (TOC), arthritis, and amyloid arthropathy.
infections can also be associated with the skin (gangrenous dermatitis, cellulitis, subdermal fibriscess, acantholytic folliculitis and epidermitis, comb necrosis, scabby hip syndrome), respiratory system (pneumonia, airsacculitis, lung granulomas), eye (conjunctivitis, blepharitis), heart (endocarditis), omphalitis and yolk sacculitis, salpingitis, peritonitis, and enteritis.
is the most common staphylococci responsible for causing bumblefoot and gangrenous dermatitis. Other less common Staphylococcus
species reported to cause disease in poultry include:
- S. agnetis: Has been associated with bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis, endocarditis, and septicemia in broilers.
- S. auricularis, S. capitis, S. carnosus, S. chromogenes, S. gallinarum, S. lugdunensis, and S. schleiferi: Have been associated with systemic infections in broilers, laying hens, turkeys, and waterfowl.
- S. cohnii subsp. urealyticus: Has been associated with hock joint arthritis, systemic infections, and scabby hip syndrome in broilers, laying hens, waterfowl, and turkeys.
- S. epidermidis: Has been associated with chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO), systemic infections, and scabby hip syndrome in broilers, laying hens, and waterfowl.
- S. hominis: Has been associated with chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO) and systemic infections in broilers.
- S. hyicus: Has been associated with systemic infections, fibrinopurulent blepharitis and conjunctivitis, mixed infections with fowl pox, stifle joint osteomyelitis, acantholytic folliculitis and epidermitis, and pododermatitis in broilers, laying hens, and turkeys.
- S. intermedius, S. lentus, S. sciur, and S. warneri: Has been associated with scabby hip syndrome and systemic infections in broilers, laying hens, and turkeys, and waterfowl.
- S. saprophyticus and S . xylosus: Have been associated with chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO) and systemic infections in broilers, laying hens, and turkeys.
- S. simulans: Has been associated with endocarditis, scabby hip syndrome, and systemic infections in broilers, laying hens, waterfowl, and turkeys.
Most staphylococci infections in poultry are local and chronic but can occasionally develop into systemic infections. The reason why staphylococci infections are often chronic is because Staphylococcus
species have evolved mechanisms to survive phagocytosis by mononuclear cells and heterophils so that they can persist in the host and form a reservoir for recurrent infections.Staphylococcus
has also been isolated from dead-in-shell chicken embryos (in 7.6% showing developmental abnormalities) and associated with embryonic mortality and reduced hatchability.
are susceptible to 70% ethanol, chlorhexidine, 1% sodium hypochlorite, 2% glutaraldehyde, 0.25% benzalkonium chloride, and formaldehyde.