Spotlight on avian pathology: Eimeria and the disease coccidiosis
Coccidiosis, caused by Eimeria species parasites, remains a major threat to poultry production, undermining economic performance and compromising welfare. The recent characterization of three new Eimeria species that infect chickens has highlighted that many gaps remain in our knowledge of the biology and epidemiology of these parasites. Concerns about the use of anticoccidial drugs, widespread parasite drug resistance, the need for vaccines that can be used across broiler as well as layer and breeder sectors, and consumer preferences for "clean" farming, all point to the need for novel control strategies. New research tools including vaccine delivery vectors, high throughput sequencing, parasite transgenesis and sensitive molecular assays that can accurately assess parasite development in vitro and in vivo are all proving helpful in the ongoing quest for improved cost-effective, scalable strategies for future control of coccidiosis.