Probably the greatest single factor which limited the early expansion of the U.S. poultry industry was the disease known as Bacillary White Diarrhea (BWD), caused by Salmonella pullorum. This disease, later called pullorum disease, was rampant in poultry and could cause upwards of 80 percent mortality in baby poultry. Flock owners recognized the problem, but were unable to manage it until the causative organism was discovered in 1899 and a diagnostic blood test was developed in 1913.
The National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) was developed in 1935 as a nation-wide program to reduce and eradicate Pullorum Disease and another salmonella disease of poultry called Fowl Typhoid. Currently, over 95% of the U.S. breeding and hatchery industry participates in the program. NPIP is a voluntary program administered cooperatively by the USDA, states and the poultry industries.
Pullorum Disease (Salmonella pullorum) and Fowl Typhoid (Salmonella gallinarum) are bacterial diseases that can produce heavy losses in chickens, turkeys and other poultry. Other NPIP disease control programs include Salmonella enteritidis, Mycoplasma gallisepticum, Mycoplasma synoviae, Mycoplasma meleagridis and Avian Influenza.
The NPIP program has been so successful that Pullorum and Typhoid are rare in commercial poultry and many states, including South Carolina, are classified as U.S. Pullorum-Typhoid Clean. Poultry entering or leaving South Carolina or going to public exhibition must be tested negative for Pullorum-Typhoid. Even though these diseases are rare, some pockets of infection remain in backyard and exhibition birds.
The South Carolina NPIP office certifies commercial and small poultry flocks through specific disease testing and sanitation, record and reporting requirements. The SC NPIP office also certifies private Authorized Pullorum-Typhoid Testing Agents. Contact the NPIP office to find the Pullorum-Typhoid tester nearest you. Anyone wishing to become a certified tester in South Carolina may contact the NPIP office. Training courses are held once a year in Columbia and Clemson. See the SC NPIP Class & Backyard Flock Seminars link for more information.