Prevalence of Eimeria infection and risk factors associated with domestic chickens raised in Nsukka LGA, Enugu State, Southeast Nigeria
Eimeria infection has been considered the most important protozoan infection of the poultry industry in Nigeria because of its high incidence. A total of 400 faecal samples were collected from 10 farms in Nsukka LGA and analyzed using the Wisconsin’s faecal floatation technique. Data on the management practices of these farms were collected using a wellstructured questionnaire. Eimeria tenella was the only identified species. A total of 158 (39.5%) of the domestic chickens sampled were infected with the protozoan parasite. There was significant difference (p < 0.0001) of E. tenella between towns and between the studied farms. Of the 5 towns sampled, the prevalence was highest at Obukpa town 52 (65.0%) and in birds aged 7 weeks 20 (83.3%) and least at Edem 2 (2.5%) and in birds aged 32 weeks 2 (5.0%). The mean intensity of infection was highest at Obukpa (9.35 ± 9.24) and in birds aged 4weeks (11.50 ± 11.09) and least in Edem town and in birds aged 32 weeks. The difference in prevalence between birds of different ages was significant (p <0.0001). Majority of the farms practiced deep litter housing compared to battery cage users (90% vs. 10%). The most used vaccine was combination 7 (70%). Fifty percent of the farms employed the expertise of veterinary doctors in vaccine administration. Eimeria infection, the main cause of coccidiosis in chicken, has continued to be a major challenge in poultry production and management. Conclusively, the prevalence of Eimeria infection is moderately low as a result of the widespread use of vaccines and anticoccidials.