Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Aspergillosis by Jeffrey Low

I sought Jeffrey's opinion recently when one of my shamas developed a cough. It sounds just like a chicken chirping. I took Jeffrey's advice and the cough was cured within a few days. Subsequently, Jeffrey kindly sent me a note on Aspergillosis. I reproduce it below for general information

Commercially prepared shama dry food used in this part of the world most probably includes peanuts and beans in their ingredients. It is important that the moisture content of such food be kept as low as possible. Although most of the commercially available pellet type of dry food are sufficiently low in moisture content, it is wise to pay attention to the storage of these dry food to ensure that they do not absorb too much moisture as well as discarding the dry food in the feeder cups and refreshing them regularly so as to ensure that the birds are not fed with these dry food that could have accumulated moisture for some time.

Beans and peanuts are known to harbour fungi spores and storage of such products requires the moisture content to be sufficiently low in order to prevent these fungi spores from growing and multiplying. Some fungi spores can grow and reproduce in these products with moisture content as low as 13.5%. Raw peanuts are particularly susceptible to Aspergillus molds and are required to be stored below moisture content of below 8% to prevent this.

There are various species of Aspergillus molds and under certain conditions, they can produce a mycotoxin known as aflatoxin which has been known to cause serious human health problems in some parts of the world.. Aflatoxin related problems are very commonly associated with peanuts and corn.

Aspergillosis is a fairly common fungal disease of birds caused by the Aspergillus mold. Symptoms include clicking noise and breathing difficulties. Mortality rate from Aspergillosis is high. One of the causes is due to damp food which encourages the growth and reproduction of the Aspergillus spores.