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Immunological effects and productivity variation of red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) on laying hens - Implications for egg production and quality

Lookup NU author(s): Samuel Arkle, Dr Jonathan Guy, Dr Olivier Sparagano


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Red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae; De Geer, 1778) is currently one of the most detrimental ectoparasites in laying birds across several countries. Symptoms of D. gallinae infestation include reduction in production, poor egg quality, increased mortality and also a compromise to welfare. Feeding on its host for only short periods of time, the red mite spends the vast proportion of its short life-cycle hidden deep within the house substructure. For this reason, it is the preference of red mite to occupy free range or barn systems as opposed to caged, since a greater number of potential hiding places can be sought. A problem which will therefore be amplified within the EU with the impending ban on production in laying cages. This, in conjunction with concern over resistance to acaricides, toxicity risks and acaricide withdrawal, make control particularly problematic and financially draining for producers. Therefore alternative methods must be sought, such as vaccine development. However, in order for this to be achieved, an understanding of mite antigenicity must first be established. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess immunological response of humeral antibodies to naturally occurring mite antigens, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and SDS-PAGE. Antibodies were derived from egg yolk and blood sera which were collected from commercial laying farms across the UK with varying levels of red mite infestation and using different production systems (caged, barn and free range). In addition, mites were trapped and counted periodically so as to follow population dynamics over a flock lifespan in conjunction with a series of production measures (Laying percentage, eggs per bird per week, mortality and temperature). The results describe the effect of red mite infestation on production parameters, immunological response and the relationship between them. © World's Poultry Science Association 2006.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Arkle S, Guy JH, Sparagano O

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 22nd World Poultry Congress

Year of Conference: 2006

Pages: 249-384

ISSN: 0043-9339

Publisher: World's Poultry Science Journal, Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1079/WPS200594

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 17434777