Chickens have had a variety of samples taken; blood will allow us to look for different diseases which may be circulating in the population, and also allows us to look at the genetics of the local chicken population. We take faeces to look for internal parasites, such as worms and the protozoan parasite Eimeria, which is the cause of coccidiosis. Birds have also been screened for external parasites, and a large collection of lice and mites taken from the chickens has been brought back to the UK for identification.
Serum collected from chickens during the fieldwork has now been tested for antibodies to five different diseases: Newcastle disease virus, Infectious bursal disease virus (Gumboro), Mareks disease virus, Pasteurella multocida, and Salmonella enterica O9 serotypes. The examination of the faeces has also been completed. The work on the genotyping and parasite identification is well under way, and producing some interesting early results.