Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link

Aflatoxicosis in Poultry


Frederic J. Hoerr

, DVM, PhD, Veterinary Diagnostic Pathology, LLC

Last full review/revision Sep 2019 | Content last modified Oct 2019
Topic Resources

The aflatoxins are toxic and carcinogenic metabolites of Aspergillus flavus, A parasiticus, and others. Aflatoxicosis in poultry primarily affects the liver but can involve immunologic, digestive, and hematopoietic functions. Aflatoxin adversely affects:

  • weight gain

  • feed intake

  • feed conversion efficiency

  • pigmentation

  • processing yield

  • egg production

  • male and female fertility

  • hatchability

Susceptibility to aflatoxins varies, but in general, ducklings, turkeys, and pheasants are susceptible, whereas chickens, quail, and guinea fowl are relatively resistant.

Aflatoxin causes:

  • general unthriftiness with high morbidity and mortality possible

  • lesions in the liver, reddened due to necrosis and congestion or yellow due to lipid accumulation

  • hemorrhages in liver and other tissues

Aflatoxins are carcinogenic, but tumor formation is rare with natural disease, probably because the animals do not live long enough for this to occur.

Others also read
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Test your knowledge
Salmonella infections in poultry occur worldwide. A few Salmonella species are highly host-adapted, whereas others are able to infect a wide range of living creatures. Which of the following Salmonella species is highly adapted to chickens and turkeys?
Become a Pro at using our website 

Also of Interest

Become a Pro at using our website