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An experimental study of the survival of turkey coronavirus at room temperature and +4°C

Guionie, Olivier, Courtillon, Céline, Allee, Chantal, Maurel, Stéphan, Queguiner, Marilyne, Eterradossi, Nicolas
Avian pathology 2013 v.42 no.3 pp. 248-252
RNA, Turkey coronavirus, cell culture, cleaning, disease control, disinfection, enteritis, farms, genes, ileum, jejunum, nucleocapsid, poultry production, poults, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, specific pathogen-free animals, summer, temperature, turkey eggs, turkeys, virus replication, viruses
Turkey coronavirus (TCoV) is a gammacoronavirus (Coronaviridae, Nidovirales) responsible for digestive disorders in young turkeys. TCoV has been associated with poult enteritis complex, a syndrome that severely affects turkey production. No medical prophylaxis exists to control TCoV, therefore sanitary measures such as cleaning and disinfection are essential. It is thus important to evaluate temperatures that allow persistence of TCoV in the environment. Two series of aliquots of a suspension of a French isolate of TCoV (Fr TCoV) were stored at room temperature or +4°C for 0 to 40 days. As TCoV does not grow in cell culture, the presence of residual infectious TCoV in the stored samples was tested by inoculating embryonated specific pathogen free turkey eggs. As TCoV does not induce lesions in the embryo, virus replication in the jejunum and ileum of the embryos was detected 4 days post inoculation, using RNA extraction and a real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction based on the nucleocapsid gene. No surviving virus was detected after 10 days storage at +21.6±1.4°C or after 40 days storage at +4.1±1.6°C, these temperatures being representative of the mean summer and winter temperatures, respectively, in the major French poultry-producing region. The relatively short survival of the virus at room temperature should contribute to limited virus survival during summer months. However, infectious virus was still detected after 20 days storage at the cooler temperatures, a finding that suggests prolonged survival of Fr TCoV and easier transmission between poultry farms in a cool environment are possible.