Helminth infections in chickens (Gallus domesticus) raised in different production systems in Brazil
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The current study evaluated helminth infections in birds raised in different production systems for different purposes (extensive/dual-purpose, semi-intensive/broiler, semi-intensive/hen, intensive/hen and intensive/broiler) in Brazil. A total of 374 birds was assessed for helminths at necropsy using standard parasitological methods. During the necropsies, organs from the gastrointestinal tract (crop, esophagus, proventriculus, gizzard, small intestine, large intestine and ceca) of each bird were collected and the contents fixed in 70% ethanol. Additionally, the trachea and eyes were assessed for the presence of helminths. The small intestine was examined using a methodology that allowed the recovery of cestode scolices attached to the intestinal mucosa. Stereomicroscopy and optical microscopy were used to detect and identify helminth species based on their morphological characteristics. Fifteen helminth species were found among birds from the different systems. The extensive system presented the highest number of helminth species (six cestodes, seven nematodes and one trematode) and the highest number of parasites (mean helminths/bird), followed by the semi-intensive system (broiler: six cestode and four nematode species; hens: five cestode and three nematode species). Hens from the intensive system were parasitized by five cestode, four nematode and one trematode species. No parasites were detected in broilers raised in the intensive systems. The results obtained in this study highlight the need for special attention and the implementation of biosecurity measures for the prevention of helminth infections in intensive systems (hens) and particularly in extensive and semi-intensive alternative poultry production systems.