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Science / Medicine : Drugs Prevent Fowl Disease

<i> Times science writer Thomas H. Maugh II reports from the 197th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas</i>

A new way to prevent the spread of coccidiosis, a parasitic disease of chickens, has been developed by researchers at Upjohn Co. in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Their approach is particularly promising, said chemist Douglas Rector, because it does not involve dosing the chickens with antibiotics or other drugs that might be passed on to humans in chicken flesh.

The disease is caused by a parasite called coccidia, which is transferred from chicken to chicken when they eat infected fecal matter in the litter that lines their cages. The researchers have found that a family of drugs called quinolines and quinazolines, which are harmless to humans but foul-tasting to chickens, can be added to the litter to prevent the chickens from eating it. Tests with chickens have shown, Rector said, that it prevents spread of the disease in coops.


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