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Riemerella Anatipestifer Infection

New Duck Disease, Infectious Serositis, Pasteurella Anatipestifer Infection

Riemerella anatipestifer (RA), previously referred to as Pasteurella anatipestifer, is a highly contagious disease that causes acute or chronic septicemia in domestic ducks. The disease is mainly a problem in young, White Pekin ducks grown for commercial purposes. Outbreaks have been documented in the United States and throughout several countries in Asia. R. anatipestifer infection occurs in acute or chronic form.
  • Acute form: The acute form is primarily a concern for young ducks, between 2 and 8 weeks of age. Affected ducks usually develop a blood infection, resulting in a combination of respiratory, neurological, and gastrointestinal signs and high mortality rate. Signs most often observed include greenish diarrhea, head and neck tremors, listlessness, and various respiratory signs.
R. anatipestifer is a gram-negative, non-motile, non-spore-forming rod. Over 21 different serotypes have been identified worldwide. R. anatipestifer infection was first reported in 1932. In the early 1980s a commercial antibiotic was developed against the disease, using a combination of R. anatipestifer serotypes and a particular strain of Escherichia coli. The overuse of antibiotics has contributed to the emergence of drug-resistant bacterial strains of R. anatipestifer. Currently, various vaccines have been developed as an alternative method of controlling the disease in farmed commercial ducks.

RA is spread to ducks horizontally from inhalation by the respiratory tract or through skin wounds. It may be transmitted vertically, from breeder ducks to their eggs.


Eye discharge
Incoordination (ataxia)
Twisted neck
Leg paddling on backs
Reduced movement


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Serology
  • Molecular testing
  • Colloidal gold immunochromatographic strips


MethodMethod Summary
Sulfadimethoxine-ormetoprim0.04-0.08% in feed
Sulfaquinoxaline0.25 g/kg administered in feed, once (in ducklings)


  • Maintain good sanitation
  • Establish biosecurity procedures
  • Do not overcrowd birds


Risk Factors

  • Unsanitary conditions