Avian metapneumovirus (AMPV), also known as turkey rhinotracheitis virus, is a newly emergent virus that causes upper respiratory tract disease in turkeys and is associated with "swollen head syndrome" in chickens. The virus was first isolated in South Africa in 1978, and has subsequently been reported in Europe, Asia, and South America. In February, 1997, a new and distinct AMPV strain was officially reported in the US following an outbreak of respiratory tract disease in turkeys in the State of Colorado during the previous year. This was first report of AMPV in the US. Until then APMV had been considered exotic to the US and Canada. Since 1997, AMPV has spread to Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Canada, resulting in severe economic losses for the turkey industry.
SEPRL scientists have utilized genetic analyses of AMPV to demonstrate that the US virus is distinguishable from European viruses. Current research efforts at SEPRL on AMPV are directed toward molecular characterization of new AMPV isolates, identification of virulence determinants, development of improved diagnostic tests and control strategies, and establishment of a new, cutting edge technique called "reverse genetics" which will aid the study of the AMPV disease process and lead to the development of improved vaccines.
Lead Scientist: Qingzhong Yu