Blackhead disease

Blackhead disease

Blackhead disease (also known simply as "blackhead") is a commercially important avian disease that affects chickens, turkeys and other poultry. The disease carries a high mortality rate and affects the liver and cecum. It is a form of histomoniasis caused by the protozoan parasite Histomonas meleagridis, a nematode. Blackhead disease affects turkeys more than chickens.

The most common symptom of Blackhead disease is yellow watery bird droppings. To reduce the spreading of Blackhead disease, the sick birds must be removed and their litter changed.

This protozoan is commonly associated with Heterakis infections of fowl.


*Allaby, Michael. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Zoology. pg 1. Oxford University Press. New York. 1992.

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