Preventing and Treating Chicken Parasite Infections with Rosemary Extract

Jim Crocker
18th March, 2024

Preventing and Treating Chicken Parasite Infections with Rosemary Extract

Image Source: Nguyen Huy (photographer)

Key Findings

  • Study at Kafrelsheikh University finds rosemary extract and chitosan nanoparticles reduce coccidiosis in chickens
  • These additives decreased the disease-causing oocysts and improved gut health
  • They also helped modulate the chickens' immune response, reducing inflammation
Coccidiosis is a significant disease affecting the poultry industry, caused by the Eimeria species of protozoan parasites, with Eimeria tenella being one of the most harmful. This disease can lead to poor health in birds, reduced growth, and even death, causing substantial economic losses. Traditional treatments have limitations, prompting a search for alternative solutions. A recent study[1] conducted by researchers at Kafrelsheikh University has explored the potential of ultrasonicated Rosmarinus officinalis ethanolic extract (UROEE) and its chitosan nanoparticles (CsNPs) as dietary additives for preventing and treating coccidiosis in broiler chickens. The study evaluated the effects of these additives on chickens infected with E. tenella. The birds were divided into eleven groups, with some receiving UROEE, CsNPs, or a combination of both (UROEE-CsNPs) either as a preventive measure from the first day until the end of the 42-day trial or as a treatment for five consecutive days post-infection. The researchers measured the number of oocysts, which are the egg-like structures that spread the disease, in the feces of the chickens to assess the effectiveness of the treatments. They also examined the tissue in the cecum, part of the bird's intestine most affected by coccidiosis, for signs of damage and inflammation. To understand the immune response, they looked at the levels of certain proteins associated with T cells, a type of immune cell, and measured the expression of genes for various cytokines, which are molecules that signal between cells during immune responses. The findings revealed that the treatments reduced the number of oocysts excreted and helped maintain the structure of the cecal tissue. The presence of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, which are indicative of an immune response, was decreased. After the initial infection, there was an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-6) and an anti-inflammatory cytokine (TGF-β4), which are typically elevated as the body fights off an infection. However, following a secondary infection, these levels were reduced, suggesting that the additives might help modulate the immune response and reduce inflammation. These findings align with earlier research, which demonstrated that plant extracts and essential oils could inhibit the invasion of E. tenella in chicken cells and reduce the severity of coccidiosis in chickens[2]. Another study showed that dietary rosemary extract could improve growth performance, meat quality, and immune responses in ducks[3]. Furthermore, a separate study found that chitosan nanoparticles enhanced the effect of rosemary extract against E. tenella in a laboratory setting[4]. The current study builds on these earlier discoveries by providing evidence of the effectiveness of UROEE and CsNPs in a real-world setting, offering a practical application for poultry farming. The results from Kafrelsheikh University's research suggest that UROEE and CsNPs, especially when combined, could serve as effective dietary prophylactic agents or therapeutic treatments for coccidiosis in broiler chickens. By reducing the number of oocysts shed in feces and improving the health of the cecum, these treatments could lessen the impact of the disease. Additionally, the ability of these additives to modulate the immune response holds promise for keeping the birds healthier and more resistant to the effects of E. tenella. In conclusion, the study provides encouraging evidence that could lead to better strategies for controlling and preventing coccidiosis on poultry farms. By incorporating natural compounds like UROEE and CsNPs into chicken diets, farmers may be able to reduce reliance on traditional treatments and promote better overall health in their flocks.

MedicineBiotechAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Prophylactic and Therapeutic Efficacy of Ultrasonicated Rosmarinus officinalis Ethanolic Extract and its Chitosan-Loaded Nanoparticles Against Eimeria tenella Infected Broiler Chickens.

Published 16th March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Anticoccidial activity of natural plants extracts mixture against Eimeria tenella: An in vitro and in vivo study.

3) Effects of rosemary extract supplementation in feed on growth performance, meat quality, serum biochemistry, antioxidant capacity, and immune function of meat ducks.

4) In Vitro Study to Evaluate the Efficacy of Ultrasonicated Ethanolic Extract of Rosmarinus officinalis and its Chitosan-Based Nanoparticles Against Eimeria tenella Oocysts of Chickens.

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