There is a continuing need to find alternatives to antibiotics in animal and human medicine. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect and kill bacteria, with no known activity to plant and animal cells. We have conducted research to critically evaluate the efficacy of bacteriophage to both prevent and treat colibacillosis in poultry. Bacteriophages lytic to an Escherichia coli pathogenic to poultry were isolated from municipal waste water treatment plants and poultry processing plants. Two bacteriophage isolates were selected to use in studies designed to determine the efficacy of these bacteriophage to prevent and treat severe colibacillosis in poultry. Colibacillosis was induced by injecting 6 X 104 cfu of E. coli into the thoracic airsac when the birds were 1 week of age. Initial studies demonstrated that mortality was significantly reduced when the challenge culture was mixed with bacteriophage prior to challenging the birds. In subsequent studies, we have shown that an aerosol spray of bacteriophage given to the birds prior to this E. coli challenge can prevent the disease, and that an intramuscular injection of bacteriophage provides an effective treatment of this disease. We have demonstrated that bacteriophage can be used to both prevent and treat colibacillosis in poultry and may provide an effective alternative to antibiotic use in animal and human medicine.
Huff, G. R.; Huff, W. E.; Rath, N. C.; and Donoghue, A. M.
"Critical Evaluation of Bacteriophage to Prevent and Treat Colibacillosis in Poultry,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 63
, Article 12.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol63/iss1/12