2013 - 2016

Understanding and controlling necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens

Principal Investigator: John Prescott, University of Guelph
Co-investigator: Joshua Gong, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada; Dion Lepp, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada; Valeria Parreira, University of Guelph; Yanlong Pei, University of Guelph; Spiridoula Athanasiadou, Scottish Agricultural College
Status: Completed


To develop a live oral Clostridium perfringens vaccine to control necrotic enteritis


Necrotic enteritis (NE) caused by Clostridium perfringens is a highly important bacterial disease of poultry, estimated to cost the broiler industry globally about $2 billion in terms of costs of prevention and disease. For many years it has been controlled by prophylactic administration of antibiotics. The 1999 ban of “growth promotion” antibiotics in Europe for public health reasons was followed by an increase in clinical NE in poultry. The desire to reduce antibiotic use in food animal production globally, and the ban of growth promoters in Europe, has led to a surge of research on NE and on alternative approaches to its control. There is currently no vaccine available for active immunization of broiler chickens against necrotic enteritis. This technology would replace the widespread global use of prophylactic antibiotics in prevention of this common and important infection of broiler chickens and other intensively-reared poultry. The poultry industry is trying to reduce the use of antibiotics in poultry production, but necrotic enteritis remains one of the problems that is hard to counter without the use of such drugs. An effective alternative(s) to antibiotics to prevent NE would be widely welcomed globally.


$469,689 (AAFC/CPRC)

Status report coming soon.




This research was part of the Poultry Science Cluster 2 which was supported by AAFC as part of Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

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