Submitted to: American Society for Microbiology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2008
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Poultry enteric syndromes such as poult enteritis complex (PEC) and poult enteritis mortality syndrome (PEMS) in young turkeys, and runting-stunting syndrome (RSS) in broiler chickens, are continuous, often seasonal problems for poultry producers in the United States. The specific etiologies of each of these syndromes are not known. Recent regional and national enteric virus surveys of commercial turkey and chicken flocks has revealed the ongoing presence of avian reoviruses, rotaviruses and astroviruses in birds showing signs of enteric disease and in otherwise healthy birds. Several turkey-origin reoviruses have recently been isolated and described at the molecular level and in pathogenesis studies. The turkey astroviruses, particularly turkey astrovirus type 2, appear to be ubiquitous in U.S. flocks, where they may affect the performance of commercial turkeys. This report documents the initial characterization of turkey-origin rotaviruses originally detected via RT-PCR in intestinal samples collected from commercial flocks showing signs of enteric disease in the Midwest. Based upon the sequence of the NSP4 enterotoxin gene, these turkey rotaviruses were compared phylogenetically and found to group separately from other rotaviruses detected in turkey enteric samples from across the U.S. (i.e., from the Southeast). Two of the detected rotaviruses, one from a healthy flock and one from a flock showing signs of enteric disease, were isolated directly from turkey intestinal contents via passage in the mammalian cell line MA-104 and were found to have similar genomes via electropherotyping in agarose gels. The ability to isolate these turkey rotaviruses from complex samples that often contain other enteric viruses will prove useful in subsequent pathogenesis work and during ongoing molecular characterization intended to improve molecular diagnostic tests and our understanding of the epidemiology of turkey rotavirus infection.