Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Spotlight on avian pathology: Eimeria and the disease coccidiosis

Blake, Damer P; Marugan-Hernandez, Virginia; Tomley, Fiona M


Damer P Blake

Virginia Marugan-Hernandez

Fiona M Tomley


More than 72 billion chickens were produced globally in 2019, emphasising their major contribution to the production of protein for human consumption. Production systems for chickens are increasingly moving towards drug-free and/or extensive programmes in much of Europe and North America, while production is intensifying rapidly in many low- and middle-income countries. These changes are raising a series of new challenges to pathogen control. Coccidiosis caused by Eimeria species parasites remains a major threat to poultry production, undermining economic performance and compromising welfare. The recent characterisation of three new Eimeria species that infect chickens has highlighted that many gaps remain in our knowledge of the biology and epidemiology of these parasites. Concerns about the use of anticoccidial drugs, widespread parasite drug resistance, the need for vaccines that can be used across broiler as well as layer and breeder sectors, and consumer preferences for ‘clean’ farming, all point to the need for novel control strategies. New research tools including vaccine delivery vectors, high throughput sequencing, parasite transgenesis and sensitive molecular assays that can accurately assess parasite development in vitro and in vivo are all proving helpful in the ongoing quest for improved cost-effective, scalable strategies for future control of coccidiosis.


Blake, D. P., Marugan-Hernandez, V., & Tomley, F. M. (in press). Spotlight on avian pathology: Eimeria and the disease coccidiosis. Avian Pathology,

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Mar 30, 2021
Online Publication Date Apr 20, 2021
Deposit Date Feb 23, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 7, 2022
Print ISSN 0307-9457
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL