Evidence of vertical transmission of novel duck orthoreovirus in ducks.
Since 2017, duck spleen necrosis caused by new variant duck orthoreovirus (N-DRV) infection had been observed in several provinces in China. This disease retards the growth and development of ducks, thereby reducing feed return rate. N-DRV infection causes damage to duck spleen and other immune organs, leading to immunosuppression and susceptibility to other pathogens. In this study, we successfully constructed a breeding duck artificial infection model and found that N-DRV infection can cause pathologic changes, such as ovarian hemorrhage, follicle atrophy, and fallopian tube bleeding in breeding ducks, resulting in significantly reduced fertilization rate and egg hatching rate. Viral RNA was present in egg vitelline membrane, duck embryo, and duckling's spleen samples, as determined through quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Autopsy revealed obvious pathologic changes in the spleen and other organs, although there were no obvious early clinical symptoms observed in ducklings. Sequence distance and phylogenetic analysis confirmed that N-DRV-SD19 re-isolated from the spleen samples of ducklings was consistent with the strain N-DRV-XT18 used for infecting breeding ducks. The findings in this study confirmed that N-DRV can be vertically transmitted through eggs, which provide an important reference for the disease prevention and control.