Re-calculating the cost of coccidiosis in chickens

Blake, D P and Knox, J and Dehaeck, B and Huntington, B and Rathinam, T and Ravipati, V and Ayoade, S and Gilbert, W and Adebambo, A O and Jatau, I D and Raman, M and Parker, D and Rushton, J and Tomley, F M (2020) Re-calculating the cost of coccidiosis in chickens. Veterinary Research, 51 (1). ISSN 1297-9716

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13567-020-00837-2

Abstract

Coccidiosis, caused by Eimeria species parasites, has long been recognised as an economically significant disease of chickens. As the global chicken population continues to grow, and its contribution to food security intensifies, it is increasingly important to assess the impact of diseases that compromise chicken productivity and welfare. In 1999, Williams published one of the most comprehensive estimates for the cost of coccidiosis in chickens, featuring a compartmentalised model for the costs of prophylaxis, treatment and losses, indicating a total cost in excess of £38 million in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1995. In the 25 years since this analysis the global chicken population has doubled and systems of chicken meat and egg production have advanced through improved nutrition, husbandry and selective breeding of chickens, and wider use of anticoccidial vaccines. Using data from industry representatives including veterinarians, farmers, production and health experts, we have updated the Williams model and estimate that coccidiosis in chickens cost the UK £99.2 million in 2016 (range £73.0–£125.5 million). Applying the model to data from Brazil, Egypt, Guatemala, India, New Zealand, Nigeria and the United States resulted in estimates that, when extrapolated by geographical region, indicate a global cost of ~ £10.4 billion at 2016 prices (£7.7–£13.0 billion), equivalent to £0.16/chicken produced. Understanding the economic costs of livestock diseases can be advantageous, providing baselines to evaluate the impact of different husbandry systems and interventions. The updated cost of coccidiosis in chickens will inform debates on the value of chemoprophylaxis and development of novel anticoccidial vaccines.

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