Mycoplasmas in the etiology of multifactorial respiratory disease

Poult Sci. 1998 Aug;77(8):1146-9. doi: 10.1093/ps/77.8.1146.


The avian mycoplasmas pathogenic for commercial poultry, Mycoplasma gallisepticum and Mycoplasma synoviae in chickens and turkeys, and Mycoplasma meleagridis and Mycoplasma iowae in turkeys are egg-transmitted infections and exhibit wide variations in clinical manifestations. Mycoplasma gallisepticum strains vary widely in virulence, tissue tropism, and antigenic makeup and have the ability to alter the expression of major surface antigenic proteins. Although less well studied, strains of M. synoviae, M. meleagridis, and M. iowae appear to exhibit similar variability. Intraspecies variability among mycoplasma strains and their ability to interact with other disease-producing factors explain the wide variability of clinical manifestations, difficulties in diagnosis, their ability to persist within the host for long periods of time, and many of the difficulties involved in control and eradication programs. Mycoplasmas are also well known for their interactions with other infectious agents and environmental factors in producing clinical disease. Control of the clinical manifestations of Mycoplasma infections is simplified when concurrent infections are minimized and optimum environmental conditions are provided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Environment
  • Mycoplasma / classification
  • Mycoplasma Infections / classification
  • Mycoplasma Infections / prevention & control
  • Mycoplasma Infections / veterinary*
  • Poultry Diseases / classification
  • Poultry Diseases / microbiology*
  • Poultry Diseases / prevention & control
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / classification
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / veterinary*
  • Turkeys