Main content area

Tissue distribution, shedding and environmental detection of infectious bursal disease virus genome following infection of meat chickens at two ages

Jayasundara, JMKGK, Walkden‐Brown, SW, Islam, AFMF, Katz, ME, Renz, KG
Australian veterinary journal 2018 v.96 no.5 pp. 167-175
Infectious bursal disease virus, antibodies, atrophy, blood, chickens, chicks, dust, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, feces, genome, lymphatic system, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, tissue distribution, tissues
OBJECTIVE: To compare the effects of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) infection of commercial meat chickens at 0 and 16 days old (d.o.) and determine if IBDV vRNA is quantifiable in litter and dust samples. METHODS: Ross meat chickens (n = 60) were orally infected or not with IBDV at 0 or 16 d.o. Blood and faecal samples were collected longitudinally to 28 days post infection (dpi) from six chickens and tissues collected weekly from three euthanased chickens. Relative bursal weight was recorded postmortem. IBDV antibody titres in sera were measured using ELISA and VCN was determined in tissues, faeces, litter and dust using qRT‐PCR. RESULTS: Chickens infected at 16 d.o. had earlier and more severe bursal atrophy, earlier and higher IBDV vRNA load in lymphoid organs and an earlier and greater antibody response to infection than those infected at 0 d.o. Faecal shedding of IBDV between 2 and 6 dpi was observed in both groups followed by cessation with the 0 d.o. group and re‐initiation of shedding at 28 dpi. IBDV was readily detected and quantified in litter and dust samples. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of significant maternal antibody (MAb) titres in 0 d.o. chickens provided protection against IBDV replication and bursal atrophy at 7 and 14 days post infection. The reduced titres of MAb present at 16 d.o. did not prevent rapid IBDV replication and early marked bursal atrophy. The observed resistance of 0 d.o. chickens is likely to be a combination of MAb inhibition of IBDV and true age resistance of neonatal chicks. Measurement of IBDV in litter and dust may have research or diagnostic application.