Free Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 36, Number 5-6, September-December 2005
Page(s) 759 - 769
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2005) 759-769
Vet. Res. 36 (2005) 759-769
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2005031

Experimental evidence of indirect transmission of Mycoplasma synoviae

Corinne Maroisa, Jean-Paul Picaultb, Marylène Kobischa and Isabelle Kempfa

a  Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments (AFSSA), Laboratoire d'Études et de Recherches Avicoles et Porcines, Unité de Mycoplasmologie Bactériologie, BP 53, 22440 Ploufragan, France
b  Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments (AFSSA), Laboratoire d'Études et de Recherches Avicoles et Porcines, Unité de Virologie Immunologie Parasitologie Aviaires et Cunicoles, BP 53, 22440 Ploufragan, France

(Received 19 November 2004; accepted 2 March 2005)

Abstract - The aim of the study was to analyse experimental transmission of Mycoplasma synoviae, an avian pathogen. Three experiments using specific pathogen-free day-old chicks placed in isolators were conducted. In the first experiment, the birds were introduced in an isolator previously contaminated with a M. synoviae broth culture. After 34 days, these birds were eliminated and, for the second trial, the chicks were introduced in the same isolator without disinfecting. In the third assay, the chicks were placed in an isolator containing a mixture of food, feathers and dust collected less than an hour earlier from a M. synoviae infected laying hen flock. In the second and third experiments in order to exacerbate the M. synoviae infection, the birds were inoculated with infectious bronchitis (IB) virus. The presence of M. synoviae in the environment and in tracheal swabs was monitored by culture, a multiplex PCR (mPCR) detecting M. synoviae and Mycoplasma 16S rDNA and a multiplex RT-PCR (mRT-PCR) detecting the M. synoviae mRNA coding for a membrane protein and Mycoplasma 16S rRNA. In in vitro experimental conditions, M. synoviae mRNA and 16S rRNA were detected up to 20 min and 23 h respectively after mycoplasma death. In the first assay, the first infected bird was detected on the 13th day. In the second trial, culturable M. synoviae or viable M. synoviae were detected in the isolator for 3 or 4 to 5 days respectively after depopulation of the birds of the first assay whereas the first culture positive tracheal swabs were detected on the 33rd day, after IB inoculation. In the third experiment, the first infected birds were detected on the 54th day. Thus, the different assays showed that M. synoviae contaminated material (dust, feathers and food) can infect chicks, sometimes after remarkably long silent periods.

Key words: Mycoplasma synoviae / chicken / environment / transmission

Corresponding author: Isabelle Kempf

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005