Identification of four serotypes of fowl adenovirus in clinically affected commercial poultry co-infected with chicken infectious anaemia virus in Trinidad and Tobago.
Fowl adenovirus (FAdV), which causes the high-impact diseases such as inclusion body hepatitis and hepatitis-hydropericardium syndrome, is of major concern to the poultry industry internationally. This study was carried out in direct response to mortality rates of up to 75% in commercial broiler flocks in Trinidad, West Indies. Symptoms in 3- to 8-week-old broilers and 13- to 18-week-old pullets pointed to infection with an immunosuppressive viral pathogen. The objectives of the study were to determine whether the infectious agent FAdV, along with other viral pathogens, was responsible for the clinical disease, and to obtain information on the serotypes of FAdV that were infecting the birds. Tissue samples from clinically affected birds from eight different farms were tested for chicken infectious anaemia virus (CIAV) and infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and for FAdV by conventional PCR. The birds tested positive for FAdV and CIAV, but negative for IBDV. The gene corresponding to the L1 loop of the hexon protein for FAdV was amplified and sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis of seven FAdV strains inferred that four serotypes were likely to be circulating in the chickens. Well supported genetic relatedness was observed for serotype 8a (97.8%), 8b (97.8%), 9 (95.8%) and 11 (98.8%-99.5%). This is the first published report from Trinidad and Tobago on the presence and circulation of pathogenic FAdV strains, in combination with CIAV, in poultry. The data demonstrate a possible need for the introduction of serotype-specific vaccines against FAdV, as well as vaccines against CIAV, in broilers in the region and emphasize the importance of maintaining high levels of biosecurity on farms to prevent the spread of these potentially devastating viruses between farms.