Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Pathogenic evaluation of a Turkey coronavirus isolate (TCoV NC1743) in Turkey poults for establishing a TCoV disease model.

Abstract

Turkey coronavirus (TCoV) can cause a highly contagious enteric disease in turkeys with severe economic losses in the global turkey industry. To date, no commercial vaccines are available for control of the disease. In the present study, we isolated a field strain (NC1743) of TCoV and evaluated its pathogenicity in specific-pathogen-free (SPF) turkey poults to establish a TCoV disease model. The results showed that the TCoV NC1743 isolate was pathogenic to turkey poults with a minimal infectious dose at 106 EID50/bird. About 50% of one-day-old SPF turkeys infected with the virus's minimal infectious dose exhibited typical enteric disease signs and lesions from 6 days post-infection (dpi) to the end of the experiment (21 dpi). In contrast, fewer than 20% of older turkeys (1- or 2-week-old) infected with the same amount of TCoV displayed enteric disease signs, which disappeared after 15-18 dpi. Although all infected turkeys, regardless of age, shed TCoV, the older turkeys shed less virus than the younger birds, and 50% of the 2-week-old birds even cleared the virus at 21 dpi. Furthermore, the viral infection caused day-old turkeys more body-weight-gain reduction than older birds. The overall data demonstrated that the TCoV NC1743 isolate is a highly pathogenic strain and younger turkeys are more susceptible to TCoV infection than older birds. Thus, one-day-old turkeys infected with the minimal infectious dose of TCoV NC1743 could be used as a TCoV disease model to study the disease pathogenesis, and the TCoV NC1743 strain could be used as a challenge virus to evaluate a vaccine protective efficacy.