Mycoplasmosis of poultry

Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), Mycoplasma synoviae (MS), Mycoplasma meleagridis (MM)

Changed on: 17.05.2021

Animal disease categories: D E


Mycoplasmosis of poultry is a disease that occurs mainly in chickens and turkeys. It is not dangerous for humans.



Host animals

Chickens and turkeys, chicken-like birds such as guinea fowl, pheasants etc., very rarely other birds such as sparrows etc.

Route of infection

Directly from animal to animal via latently infected and chronically sick animals, via infected eggs or day-old chicks and indirectly via e.g. persons, equipment, means of transport etc.

Incubation period

4-21 days, also up to 48 days (undetermined in the case of field infections)


Mycoplasma gallisepticum: chronic inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, eyelid skin and air sacs, poor laying performance, increased mortality, symptoms especially in combination with other pathogens and stress factors.Mycoplasma synoviae: inflammation of the joints, tendon sheaths, trachea and air sacs.Mycoplasma meleagridis: depending on age and pathogen strain, inflammation of the upper airways, air sac inflammation, abnormal plumage development, bone deformations (barrel legs), immunosuppression, symptoms in interaction with other pathogens.


Therapy with chemotherapeutic agents such as antibiotics is possible.


Prophylactic vaccinations against MG and MS are possible, stall-specific vaccines can be produced. High biosecurity and farm hygiene and isolation of herds protect against new infections.

Situation in Austria

Monitoring and testing for mycoplasmosis in poultry is relevant for trade within the EU.

Professional information

Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) and Mycoplasma meleagridis (MM): The disease occurs in poultry of all ages, MM only in turkeys, mostly in 4-16 week old birds. In addition to spread among flocks, entry via the egg or day-old chicks plays a significant role. The animals remain carriers of the pathogen throughout their lives. The pathogen is very sensitive to environmental influences. It survives for 2-8 days at 5-10 °C, on eggshells in the incubator for up to 5 days, in sunlight for about 30 minutes.

The incubation period can be 4-21 days, but is indeterminate in field infections.


MG, MS and MM: The pathogenic strains show different pathogenicity, some strains cause mainly changes of the respiratory tract (respiratory form) and others rather changes of the joints (synovial form) and inflammation of the eyes and/or the vascular system with oedema. Some animals may be asymptomatic or show mild to severe symptoms. Initially there is watery nasal discharge which later becomes mucous, accompanied by sneezing, whistling breath sounds, reddened conjunctivae, swelling of the head, swelling under the eyes and eyelids, air pocket inflammation, respiratory distress, emaciation. In young animals, nervous symptoms and swelling of the joints (lameness) and bursa sternalis are also possible. In MM, feathering disorders and skeletal deformities (barrel legs, neck rotation) also occur.


Detection methods:

  • Pathogen detection by means of cultivation in special cultures
  • Pathogen detection using molecular biological methods (PCR)
  • Detection of antibodies by ELISA and agglutination methods

Contact, Forms

Institute for Veterinary Investigations MödlingRobertKoch-Gasse 172340 MödlingTel: +43 50 555-38112Fax: +43

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