Tijdschrift voor diergeneeskunde

Assessment of the antihistomonal effect of paromomycin and tiamulin.

PMID 21699092


Histomonosis, a parasitic disease of galliformes and sporadically of other birds caused by Histomonas meleagridis, can result in very high mortality, especially in turkeys. The ban on the last antihistomonal drug prompted an urgent search for alternative prevention and treatment strategies. As both paromomycin and tiamulin have been reported to have antihistomonal activity, these antibiotics were investigated in vitro by adding two-fold serial dilutions ranging from 12.5 to 400 microg/mL to cultures of H. meleagridis. Controls (no antibiotics, or 12.5 microg or 400 microg/mL dimetridazole) were included. Parasites were counted after 3, 20, 28, 44, 51, and 71 hours of incubation. Tiamulin did not have a clear antihistomonal effect, but paromomycin had an inhibitory effect at all concentrations tested. The latter antibiotic was subsequently examined in an in vivo study. Five groups of 20 1-day-old poults, matched by weight and sex, were either not treated (infected and uninfected control groups) or treated with paromomycin (100, 200, or 400 ppm) added to their feed. After 2 weeks all groups, except for the uninfected control group, were intracloacally inoculated with 200,000 histomonads per bird. A clear dose-response effect was found for paromomycin. In the 100-ppm paromomycin group, mortality was similar to that in the untreated control group, whereas about half of the birds died in the 200-ppm paromomycin group; almost complete protection against histomonosis was seen in the 400-ppm paromomycin group. This study shows that paromomycin supplied in feed at 400 ppm is a potentially preventive strategy against H. meleagridis.