Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) In Poultry: Signs, Causes, Control And Treatment, Gumboro disease

Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) In Poultry: Signs, Causes, Control And Treatment; This disease can also be referred to as infectious avian nephrosis, infectious bursitis, and gumboro disease. The disease occurs via an acute infection by a virus, and it is highly contagious. It occurs in chicken and accompanied by inflammation, which is usually followed by atrophy of the bursa of Fabricius. Also various digress of immunosuppression and nephroso-nephritis. In most instances, the disease occurs in chickens that are older than three weeks.  You will see that the feathers around the vent get stained with feces, which contain a lot of urates.


Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) In Poultry: Signs, Causes, Control And Treatment, Gumboro disease


Disease nature: Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) In Poultry

•    The disease is highly contagious and acute, and it affects chickens
•    It can be called avian nephrosis, Infectious Bursitis or Gumboro diseases
•     The most susceptible group of chickens are those within the age group of 0 to 6 weeks.
•    The mortality is about 90%, and morbidity is 100%.
•    The primary target cell of the infection is the B lymphocytes.  The primary site of infection is the bursa of Fabricius, which is an essential organ involved in immunity.
•    The clinical sign of this infection occurs about three days after the infection. It, therefore, has a short incubation period. 
•    The disease is ecologically significant since it has 3 to 6 weeks of heavy mortality in old chickens. Chickens that are infected at very early age will also experience severe prolonged immunosuppression   
•    The immunity is affected by this diseases, and this can lead to other diseases breaking out.
•    It causes immunosuppression, which can lead to failure of vaccination.  Other conditions that are associated with it are inclusion body hepatitis, gangrenous dermatitis, and Escherichia coli infection, all of which are anemic syndromes.

Causes of Infectious Bursal Disease (Gumboro Disease)

•     This condition is caused by the Birna virus.  Its family name is Berinaviridae. Its genus name is Avibirna virus.
•    The virus is persistent in the poultry farm environment and is highly contagious.  
•    Birds affected by the virus will start excreting the virus for up to 14 days in their feces.
•     The virus can live up to 120 days in the poultry
•    The virus can remain active for up to 52 days in the droppings, feed, and water from infected birds
•    The virus can survive disinfectant, cleaning and heating procedures.
•    The virus can also survive in the poultry environment between outbreaks
•    Some of the carriers of the virus are litter mites, Aedesvexan, and a mealworm. The virus can remain active in these carriers for up to eight weeks
•    The infection can equally be carried by the personal handling of the birds, eggs, bird transport, vehicles and egg trays.       
•    Insects, wild birds, and human can act as mechanical vectors for the infection
•    The virus does not have any vertical carrier or mode of infection; this means the infection cannot be transmitted via eggs.

•     More resistance to the infection is recorded in older birds since these older birds are experiencing Bursal regression. 

Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) In Poultry: Signs, Causes, Control And Treatment, Gumboro disease
Ruffled feathers


Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) In Poultry: Signs, Causes, Control And Treatment, Gumboro disease
Closed eyes and death


Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) In Poultry: Signs, Causes, Control And Treatment, Gumboro disease
Watery whitish diarrhoea


Clinical symptoms of Infectious Bursal Disease (Gumboro Disease)

•    Soiled vents
•    Closed eye and death
•    Reluctant to move
•    Ruffled feathers
•    Watery and whitish diarrhea
•    Depression and trembling
•    Anorexia
•    Self-vent pecking  


Gross lesions

•    Excess mucus in the intestine
•    Haemorrhage on the serosa  and internal surfaces of the bursa fabricius
•    The bursa Fabricius gets enlarged to twice its normal size.
•    Haemorrhage in the gizzard and proventriculus junction
•    Petechial/ paintbrush hemorrhage on your legs, pectoral muscles, and thigh.
•    Dehydration of carcass     


Control and prevention of Infectious Bursal Disease (Gumboro Disease)

•    Primary vaccination with intermediate or mild strain when the birds are two weeks old
•    Booster vaccination with intermediate strain for birds older than three weeks.
•    An adequate concentration of maternal antibodies can be ensured in the chicks by vaccination the breeder stock and carrying out seromonitoring in hatcheries.
•    The parent stocks should be vaccinated to bring about a high level of MDA in their progeny. This vaccination should be carried out between 4 and ten weeks of age. The live vaccine is the best choice for this.  The vaccination should be repeated when they are 16 weeks old; this time around inactivated oil-adjuvant vaccine should be used.     
•    Vitamin E and some other immune-stimulants can be included in the feed
•    They should be fed with toxin-free feed
•    Disposables, like curtains, used gunny bags, dead birds and litter should be disposed of by deep burial with slaked lime or incineration.
•    Vehicular movements with culled birds. Egg trays and crates should be restricted
•    Waterers  and feeders should be treated using 5% formalin  
•    Formalin fumes should also be used to fumigate new poultry sheds
•    Personnel should be restricted to their sheds for work
Recommended vaccination schedule for layer chicks is given in the table below:
Age in days
Name of the vaccine
IBD Live ( Primary)
IBD Live (Booster)


Treatment: Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) In Poultry

Infectious Bursal Disease is caused by a virus. As a result, it does not have any effective treatment.  Effective vaccination remains the only way to prevent the chickens from being infected.  Even at that, birds already vaccinated can still end up with the infections.
You may not get the desired result from peri-focal vaccination to combat disease outbreak; this is due to the rapidity of wild- Infectious Bursal Disease virus spread.
The birds may be protected homologous IBDV via passive immunity just like in the case of homologous avirulent strains.


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