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duck virus hepatitis

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duck virus hepatitis

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 17 February 2022
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • duck virus hepatitis
  • Overview
  • Duck hepatitis (DH) is a complex disease syndrome caused by several viruses including duck hepatitis A virus (subtypes 1, 2 and 3, i.e. DHAV-1, -2 and -3), duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) and duck hepatitis virus types 2 and 3. DH is a severe infect...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Duck virus hepatitis; Clinical signs and gross pathological lesions of day-old Pekin and Muscovy ducklings experimentally infected with duck hepatitis A virus-1 (DHAV-1), MK510860 (Eg/HL-1/15), and MK510859 (Eg/F219/14). (A,C) Signs of opisthotonos and spasmodic kicking. (B,D) Non-infected Pekin and Muscovy controls showed normal liver appearance. (E,F) Hemorrhagic spots on the liver surface of Pekin ducklings. (G,H) Muscovy livers showed severe congestion.
Taken from Comparative Pathogenicity of Duck Hepatitis A Virus-1 Isolates in Experimentally Infected Pekin and Muscovy Ducklings. Front. Vet. Sci. 7:234. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00234
TitlePathological signs
CaptionDuck virus hepatitis; Clinical signs and gross pathological lesions of day-old Pekin and Muscovy ducklings experimentally infected with duck hepatitis A virus-1 (DHAV-1), MK510860 (Eg/HL-1/15), and MK510859 (Eg/F219/14). (A,C) Signs of opisthotonos and spasmodic kicking. (B,D) Non-infected Pekin and Muscovy controls showed normal liver appearance. (E,F) Hemorrhagic spots on the liver surface of Pekin ducklings. (G,H) Muscovy livers showed severe congestion. Taken from Comparative Pathogenicity of Duck Hepatitis A Virus-1 Isolates in Experimentally Infected Pekin and Muscovy Ducklings. Front. Vet. Sci. 7:234. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00234
Copyright©2020 Hisham, Ellakany, Selim, Abdalla, Zain El-Abideen, Kilany, Ali & Elbestawy/via Frontiers in Veterinary Science - CC BY 4.0
Duck virus hepatitis; Clinical signs and gross pathological lesions of day-old Pekin and Muscovy ducklings experimentally infected with duck hepatitis A virus-1 (DHAV-1), MK510860 (Eg/HL-1/15), and MK510859 (Eg/F219/14). (A,C) Signs of opisthotonos and spasmodic kicking. (B,D) Non-infected Pekin and Muscovy controls showed normal liver appearance. (E,F) Hemorrhagic spots on the liver surface of Pekin ducklings. (G,H) Muscovy livers showed severe congestion.
Taken from Comparative Pathogenicity of Duck Hepatitis A Virus-1 Isolates in Experimentally Infected Pekin and Muscovy Ducklings. Front. Vet. Sci. 7:234. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00234
Pathological signsDuck virus hepatitis; Clinical signs and gross pathological lesions of day-old Pekin and Muscovy ducklings experimentally infected with duck hepatitis A virus-1 (DHAV-1), MK510860 (Eg/HL-1/15), and MK510859 (Eg/F219/14). (A,C) Signs of opisthotonos and spasmodic kicking. (B,D) Non-infected Pekin and Muscovy controls showed normal liver appearance. (E,F) Hemorrhagic spots on the liver surface of Pekin ducklings. (G,H) Muscovy livers showed severe congestion. Taken from Comparative Pathogenicity of Duck Hepatitis A Virus-1 Isolates in Experimentally Infected Pekin and Muscovy Ducklings. Front. Vet. Sci. 7:234. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00234©2020 Hisham, Ellakany, Selim, Abdalla, Zain El-Abideen, Kilany, Ali & Elbestawy/via Frontiers in Veterinary Science - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • duck virus hepatitis

International Common Names

  • English: duck hepatitis

English acronym

  • DH
  • DVH

Overview

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Duck hepatitis (DH) is a complex disease syndrome caused by several viruses including duck hepatitis A virus (subtypes 1, 2 and 3, i.e. DHAV-1, -2 and -3), duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) and duck hepatitis virus types 2 and 3. DH is a severe infection of ducklings, characterized by rapid onset of high mortality, opisthotonos and hepatitis. The potential for high morbidity and mortality make DH an economically important disease in all duck-growing areas.

Genome sequencing studies have revealed a great deal about these viruses (Kim et al., 2006; 2007a; Tseng et al., 2007; Fu et al., 2009; Todd et al., 2009; Yun et al., 2010; Wei et al., 2012), including that type 3 is not a picornavirus, as once thought, but an astrovirus, now called duck astrovirus 2 (DAstV-2) (Todd et al., 2009). Type 2 is also an astrovirus (subsequently renamed as duck astrovirus 1 (DAstV-1) (Todd et al., 2009), and type 1 is a picornavirus. DHV 1, the most common of the three viruses, with international distribution, is also known as duck hepatitis A virus (DHAV) in the new genus Avihepatovirus.

DHAV is a picornavirus, which causes a highly contagious infection with up to 100% mortality in ducklings under 6 weeks of age, while older ducks are unaffected. Duck hepatitis virus types 2 and 3 are astroviruses with phylogenetical similarity to turkey astroviruses. Duck astrovirus (DAstV) causes acute and often fatal infections in ducklings with clinical and pathological signs that are indistinguishable from DHAV (Yugo et al., 2016).

An avian disease caused by astroviruses was first reported in ducklings in 1965 (Asplin, 1965), but the virus was only recognized as an astrovirus in the mid-1980s using electron microscopy (Gough et al., 1984) and was initially termed duck hepatitis virus 2 (DHV-2) and later renamed duck astrovirus serotype 1 (DAstV-1) in more recent literature (Gough et al., 1985). Another astrovirus, originally termed DHV-3, which also causes hepatitis in ducklings (Haider and Calnek, 1979), is now known as DAstV-2 and is genetically and antigenically distinct from DAstV-1 (Todd et al., 2009).

DHVB infections caused by a member of the hepadnavirus group (hepatitis B viruses) are found in wild and domestic ducks, but these infections do not lead to the development of clinical signs or chronic infection.

Host Animals

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Animal nameContextLife stageSystem
Anas (ducks)
Anas platyrhynchosExperimental settingsPoultry|Young poultry
Anser (geese)Experimental settingsPoultry|Young poultry
Cairina (Muscovy ducks)
CoturnixExperimental settingsPoultry|Young poultry
Meleagris gallopavo (turkey)Experimental settingsPoultry|Young poultry
Muscovy duckDomesticated hostPoultry|Young poultry
NumidaExperimental settingsPoultry|Young poultry
Pekin duckDomesticated hostPoultry|Young poultry
Phasianus (pheasants)Experimental settingsPoultry|Young poultry

Systems Affected

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multisystemic diseases of poultry

Distribution

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Duck hepatitis A virus (DHAV) was first described in young white pekin ducks on Long Island, New York (Levine and Hofstad, 1945; Levine and Fabricant, 1950). Since then, DHAV has been reported in duck-raising areas worldwide (Woolcock, 2008), and DHAV outbreaks are frequent in China (Guo and Pan, 1984) and Korea (Park, 1985; Sung and Kim, 2000). DHAV-1 is the most common and virulent subtype with global distribution causing more than 80% mortality in ducklings.

DHAV type 2 (DAstV-1) was originally reported in Norfolk, England (Asplin, 1965). A duck astrovirus with very high sequence similarity to DAstV-1 (Todd et al., 2009) has been detected and sequenced in China (Fu et al., 2009), associated with very high mortality in one- to two-week-old commercial ducklings.

DHAV type 3 (DAstV-2) has first occurred in the USA, but is now prevalent in China, South Korea and Vietnam, and has recently been reported in 15 duckling flocks in the Sharkia province of Egypt (Hassan et al., 2020).

For current information on disease incidence, see OIE's World Animal Health Information System (OIE-WAHIS).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 14 Dec 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
BotswanaAbsentJul-Dec-2018
Burkina FasoAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
BurundiAbsentJul-Dec-2018
Cabo VerdeAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Central African RepublicAbsentJul-Dec-2019
Congo, Democratic Republic of theAbsentJul-Dec-2019
Côte d'IvoireAbsent, No presence record(s)
DjiboutiAbsentJul-Dec-2019
EgyptPresent, Localized
EswatiniAbsentJul-Dec-2019
GabonAbsent, No presence record(s)
KenyaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
LesothoAbsentJan-Jun-2020
LiberiaAbsentJul-Dec-2018
LibyaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
MadagascarAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
MalawiAbsentJul-Dec-2018
MauritiusAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
MayotteAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
MozambiquePresentJul-Dec-2019
NamibiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
NigeriaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
RéunionAbsentJul-Dec-2019
RwandaAbsentJul-Dec-2018
Saint HelenaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
SeychellesAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
SomaliaAbsentJul-Dec-2020
South AfricaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
SudanAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
TogoAbsentJul-Dec-2019
TunisiaAbsentJul-Dec-2019

Asia

AfghanistanAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
ArmeniaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
AzerbaijanAbsentJul-Dec-2019
BahrainAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
BangladeshAbsentJan-Jun-2020
BhutanAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2020
BruneiAbsentJul-Dec-2019
CambodiaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
ChinaPresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2018
GeorgiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
IndiaAbsentJan-Jun-2019
IndonesiaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
IranAbsentJan-Jun-2019
IraqAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
IsraelAbsentJul-Dec-2020
JapanAbsentJan-Jun-2020
JordanAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
KazakhstanAbsentJul-Dec-2019
KuwaitAbsentJan-Jun-2019
KyrgyzstanAbsentJan-Jun-2019
LaosAbsentJan-Jun-2019
LebanonAbsentJul-Dec-2019
MalaysiaAbsentJan-Jun-2019
-Peninsular MalaysiaAbsent, No presence record(s)
MaldivesAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
MongoliaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
MyanmarAbsentJul-Dec-2019
NepalAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
North KoreaAbsent, No presence record(s)
OmanAbsentJul-Dec-2019
PakistanAbsentJan-Jun-2020
PalestineAbsentJul-Dec-2019
QatarAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Saudi ArabiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2020
SingaporeAbsentJul-Dec-2019
South KoreaPresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2019
Sri LankaAbsentJul-Dec-2018
SyriaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
TaiwanAbsentJul-Dec-2019
TajikistanAbsentJan-Jun-2019
ThailandAbsentJan-Jun-2020
TurkmenistanAbsentJan-Jun-2019
United Arab EmiratesAbsentJul-Dec-2020
UzbekistanAbsentJul-Dec-2019
VietnamPresentJul-Dec-2019

Europe

AndorraAbsentJul-Dec-2019
BelarusAbsentJul-Dec-2019
BelgiumAbsentJul-Dec-2019
Bosnia and HerzegovinaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
BulgariaAbsentJan-Jun-2019
CroatiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
CyprusAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
CzechiaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
DenmarkAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)
EstoniaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
Faroe IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
FinlandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
FranceAbsentJul-Dec-2019
GermanyAbsentJul-Dec-2019
GreeceAbsentJan-Jun-2018
HungaryAbsentJul-Dec-2019
IcelandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
IrelandAbsent, No presence record(s)
ItalyAbsentJul-Dec-2020
LatviaAbsentJul-Dec-2020
LiechtensteinAbsentJul-Dec-2019
LithuaniaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
LuxembourgAbsent, No presence record(s)
MaltaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
MoldovaAbsentJan-Jun-2020
MontenegroAbsentJul-Dec-2019
NetherlandsAbsentJul-Dec-2019
North MacedoniaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
NorwayAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
PortugalAbsentJul-Dec-2019
RomaniaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
RussiaAbsentJan-Jun-2020
San MarinoAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
SerbiaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
Serbia and MontenegroAbsent, No presence record(s)
SlovakiaAbsentJul-Dec-2020
SloveniaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
SpainAbsentJul-Dec-2020
SwedenAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
SwitzerlandAbsentJul-Dec-2020
UkraineAbsentJul-Dec-2020
United KingdomAbsentJul-Dec-2019
-Northern IrelandAbsent, No presence record(s)

North America

BahamasAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
BarbadosAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
BelizeAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
BermudaAbsent, No presence record(s)
British Virgin IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)
CanadaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
Cayman IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
Costa RicaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
CubaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
CuraçaoAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
DominicaAbsent, No presence record(s)
Dominican RepublicAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
El SalvadorAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
GreenlandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
GuatemalaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
HaitiAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
HondurasAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
JamaicaAbsentJul-Dec-2018
MexicoAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
NicaraguaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Saint Kitts and NevisAbsent, No presence record(s)
Saint LuciaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
Trinidad and TobagoAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2018
United StatesAbsentJul-Dec-2019

Oceania

AustraliaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Cook IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
Federated States of MicronesiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
FijiAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
French PolynesiaAbsentJan-Jun-2019
KiribatiAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2018
Marshall IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
New CaledoniaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
New ZealandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
PalauAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
SamoaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
Timor-LesteAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
TongaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
VanuatuAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019

South America

ArgentinaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
BrazilAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
ChileAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
ColombiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
EcuadorAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Falkland IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
French GuianaAbsentJul-Dec-2019
GuyanaPresentJul-Dec-2020
ParaguayAbsentJul-Dec-2019
PeruAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
SurinameAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
UruguayAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
VenezuelaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019

Pathology

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Gross lesions are predominately found in the liver, which is enlarged and displays distinct punctuate or ecchymotic haemorrhages. Spleen enlargement and swelling of the kidneys, with congestion of renal blood vessels is also observed. Occasionally, small haemorrhages are seen in the intestinal wall and on the heart fat with DAstV-1 infection. Gross pathological changes with DAstV-2 are similar to those caused by DHAV.

Histopathological changes in DHAV infection consist of necrosis of hepatic cells and varying degrees of inflammatory cell infiltration. In survivors, more chronic lesions showed regeneration of liver parenchyma and widespread bile duct hyperplasia. All microscopic changes associated with DHAV infections were analysed in experimentally induced DHAV infection (Fabricant et al., 1957). Peng showed by electron microscopy that DHAV invades many tissues in the duckling and causes swelling, haemorrhage and necrosis of the liver, spleen, kidneys and pancreas. Pathological changes are also seen in the central nervous system and the bursa of Fabricii in infected ducklings (Peng, 1998). Lesions are similar with DAstV-1 and DAstV-2 infection.

Diagnosis

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There are several approaches for the diagnosis of DH, which involve examining clinical signs and gross pathological changes, or reproducing the disease in susceptible ducklings. However, these techniques are incapable of discriminating DHAV-1 and DHAV-3 because of their similar clinical signs and gross pathological lesions (Liu et al., 2011). Virus isolation combined with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (Saha et al., 2013), immunofluorescence assays (Zhang et al., 2014; Wu et al., 2015), neutralization test (Hwang, 1969) or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) (Shen et al., 2015) are reliable for detecting DHAV, but these techniques are all labour-intensive and time-consuming.

DHV type I (DHAV)

The clinical and pathological observations are highly indicative of a DHAV infection. Preparing 20% (w/v) liver homogenate suspensions, from birds that are thought to have had the infection, in buffered saline and inoculating the allantoic sac of eight- to ten-day-old chicken embryos can isolate the virus. Infected embryos will die within 5 to 8 days post-infection and exhibit gross lesions, including dwarfing, enlarged greenish livers with necrotic foci and cutaneous haemorrhage and oedema. Embryo mortality and lesions will occur sooner after inoculation, in 10- to 14-day-old duck embryos from susceptible breeder ducks. The presence of DHAV can be confirmed by one of more of the following tests:

a. Subcutaneous or intramuscular inoculation of the isolate into one- to seven-day-old susceptible ducklings results in death 18 to 48 h post-infection. Gross lesions should be consistent with DHAV infection and the virus should be re-isolated from the livers.

b. Inoculation of serial dilutions of the liver homogenate into the allantoic sac of duck or chicken eggs and observation of clinical changes as described above.

c. Inoculation of liver homogenate suspensions into primary cultures of duck embryo liver cells. DHAV will cause a cytopathic effect (CPE) in the cells. Recently, an attenuated strain of DHAV was reported to replicate in chicken embryo fibroblasts (Zhang et al., 2000). A duck embryo fibroblast cell line has been developed, in which DHAV replicates with cytopathic effect (Fu et al., 2012).

d. An accurate diagnosis of DHAV can be made using direct immunofluorescence on livers from naturally occurring infections or inoculated duck embryos (Vertinskii et al., 1968; Maiboroda, 1972).

e. An ELISA for antibodies to DHAV has been developed using virus protein 1 (VP1) produced in bacteria as antigen (Liu et al., 2010).

f. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests have been developed for DHAV (Kim et al., 2007b; 2008; Cheng et al., 2009) and reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification tests by Song et al. (2012) and Yang et al. (2012), but these tests are labour-intensive and expensive. A rapid and economical one-tube RT-PCR technique for simultaneous detection and genotyping of duck hepatitis A virus subtypes 1 and 3 has been developed recently using a universal primer and type-specific primers targeted to the 5’-NCR sequence (Chen et al., 2019).

DHV type II (DAstV-1)

The virus may be recovered in a 20% (w/v) homogenized liver suspension and can be used to inoculate susceptible ducklings and embryonated chicken eggs. An outbreak of DAstV-1 in China in 2008 killed approximately 50% of one- to two-week-old commercial ducklings (Fu et al., 2009). As sequence data is now available for DAstV-1, RT-PCRs can be used to detect the virus (Fu et al., 2009; Todd et al., 2009).

Gross lesions will be similar to field cases. Chicken eggs can also be inoculated, either by the amniotic cavity or the yolk sac. This results in very little mortality and stunted green necrotic livers are the only observable pathology. There are no cell culture systems for DAstV-1.

DHV type III (DAstV-2)

The virus can be recovered from homogenized liver suspensions and isolated by duckling inoculation, or inoculation onto the chorioallantoic membrane of ten-day-old embryonated duck eggs. There will be some embryo mortality 7 to 10 days post-inoculation and the membrane will appear dry and crusty. DAstV-2 is less virulent than DHAV.

Serologic tests

Serologic tests have not been useful because of the acute nature of the clinical disease. However, various virus neutralization (VN) assays have been described that are useful for virus identification, titration of serologic response to vaccination and epidemiologic surveys. The VN tests may achieve greater significance if DAstV-1 and DAstV-2 become more widespread. The VN tests described include a DHAV neutralization test in chicken embryos (Hwang, 1969), an agar gel diffusion precipitin (AGDP) test for identification of type I (Murty and Hanson, 1961) and a plaque-reduction test for VN antibodies (Woolcock et al., 1982). A duck embryo fibroblast cell line has been developed, in which DHAV replicates with cytopathic effect (Fu et al., 2012).

Differential Diagnosis

Although the sudden onset, rapid spread and acute course of the disease are characteristic of DHAV, the virus must be isolated or demonstrated by RT-PCR to confirm DHAV infection. Other potential causes of acute mortality in ducklings include salmonella and aflatoxin. Neither of these causes the liver lesions characteristic of DHAV infection, but will produce rapid onset mortality and ataxia, convulsions and opisthotonos in the case of aflatoxicosis.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Digestive Signs / Hepatosplenomegaly, splenomegaly, hepatomegaly Poultry|Young poultry Sign
General Signs / Ataxia, incoordination, staggering, falling Poultry|Young poultry Sign
General Signs / Haemorrhage of any body part or clotting failure, bleeding Poultry|Young poultry Sign
General Signs / Increased mortality in flocks of birds Poultry|Young poultry Sign
General Signs / Opisthotonus Poultry|Young poultry Sign
General Signs / Sudden death, found dead Poultry|Young poultry Sign
General Signs / Weakness, paresis, paralysis of the legs, limbs in birds Poultry|Young poultry Sign
Musculoskeletal Signs / Spasms of the limbs, legs, foot, feet in birds Poultry|Young poultry Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Enophthalmos, sunken eyes Poultry|Young poultry Sign

Disease Course

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DHAV causes a highly contagious, often fatal infection of ducklings, especially in those under 6 weeks of age. The onset and spread of DHAV is very rapid and is initially characterized by lethargy and ataxia. Within a short time, ducklings stop moving and squat with their eyes partially closed, this is followed by loss of balance, spasmodic kicking of both legs and death. At death, the head is usually drawn back in the opisthotonos position. Death occurs very rapidly, often within 1 to 2 h after the onset of clinical signs. Morbidity is 100% and mortality is variable depending on the age at infection. DAstV-1 and DAstV-2 cause similar clinical signs and disease course as DHAV. An outbreak of DAstV-1 in China in 2008 killed approximately 50% of one- to two-week-old commercial ducklings (Fu et al., 2009).

Epidemiology

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DHV type I (DHAV)

In naturally occurring outbreaks, DHAV occurs only in young ducks. Experimentally, infection of goslings, mallard ducklings, turkey poults, quail, young pheasants, geese and guinea fowl with DHAV have been reported (Hwang, 1974; Woolcock, 2008). DHAV will rapidly spread to all susceptible ducklings in a flock. Recovered ducks may excrete the virus in their faeces and the virus remains viable in the faeces for many weeks. It is probable that infection follows the ingestion by susceptible ducklings of virus-carrying particles from the environment. Variants of DHAV have been described in South Korea (Kim et al., 2007a; 2008). There is no evidence of egg transmission. There are reports suggesting that wild birds (Asplin, 1961) or brown rats (Demakov et al., 1975) may serve as mechanical vectors or host reservoirs for DHAV.

DHV type II (DAstV-1)

Only ducks appear to be affected by DAstV-1. The earliest described outbreaks occurred in ducks kept on open fields in eastern England, initially reported in 1965 and up to 1969, then again in 1983/1984, which were the last reported outbreaks in England. However, the role of wildfowl, wild birds and wildlife reservoirs or vectors is unknown (Gough, 1986; Woolcock, 2008). In 2008, there was a severe outbreak of duck hepatitis in China. Virus present in liver extracts had very high amino acid sequence identity (Fu et al., 2009) to the DAstV-1 sequenced by Todd et al. (2009) and very different to DAstV-2 (Todd et al., 2009).

DHV type III (DAstV-2)

There is little known about the epidemiology of DAstV-2, which has only been described in the USA (Woolcock, 2008).

Impact: Economic

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Duck hepatitis is recognized as an economically important disease in all duck-growing areas because of the potential for high morbidity and mortality if not controlled.

Zoonoses and Food Safety

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There is no known zoonotic threat of duck hepatitis virus.

Disease Treatment

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Aqueous extract of Le-Cao-Shi (LCS), a traditional Chinese medicine formula, has shown promising results for the treatment of hepatitis B in recent in vivo and in vitro experiments using a duck hepatitis B model (Zhao et al., 2019).

Prevention and Control

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Husbandry Methods and Good Practice

DHAV can be prevented by strict isolation during the first 4 to 5 weeks of life. In areas where the disease is prevalent, achieving the necessary degree of isolation may be very difficult and vaccination may be required.

Immunization and Vaccines

DHV type I (DHAV)

Resistance against DHAV in ducklings can be achieved through three methods:

1. Injection of immune serum or yolk from eggs produced by hyperimmune breeder ducks, or yolk from eggs produced by specific-pathogen-free chickens hyperimmunized with DHAV.

2. Immunization of breeder stocks with a live attenuated virus vaccine. The vaccine is produced in embryonated chicken eggs to ensure high levels of passively transferred antibodies in ducklings. Alternatively, breeder ducks can also be vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine if they have already been primed with, or exposed to, live DHAV.

3. Direct immunization of ducklings with live avirulent strains of DHAV by foot web-stab, intramuscular, intranasal or subcutaneous injection. DHAV-1 vaccines may not be fully effective against type 2 and 3 DHAV. Kim et al. (2009) have produced an attenuated DHAV-3 vaccine using a strain that had been circulating in South Korea and China, but there is no vaccine which is licenced for use in China. Another live vaccine candidate against DHAV-3 has been developed in China (Wu et al., 2020) using an attenuated field isolate strain (SD70). The minimum effective dose of SD70 after subcutaneous inoculation was 102.5ELD50. A single dose of the SD70 provided good protection to susceptible ducklings against DHAV-3 strain without causing any clinical signs of disease or mortality in one-day-old ducklings and there was no virulence reversion. The attenuated SD70 strain exhibited good safety, stability and protection, and is a promising vaccine candidate for the prevention of DHAV-3 infection.

DHV type II (DAstV-1)

A live virus, DAstV-1 vaccine, protected ducklings under experimental conditions but has never been used commercially.

DHV type III (DAstV-2)

Experimentally, an attenuated live-virus vaccine given to breeder ducks confers immunity to hatchling ducklings. Also, convalescent sera obtained from DAstV-2-infected ducks effectively controlled outbreaks in the field.

National and International Control Policy

As defined by the OIE the incubation period for DVH is 7 days. The Veterinary Administrations of importing countries should require the presentation of an international veterinary certificate attesting that:

  • The ducks showed no clinical signs of DVH on the day of shipment.
  • The ducks come from establishments that are free from DVH.
  • That the ducks are either vaccinated or not vaccinated against DVH.

There are further requirements for the importation of day-old ducks and duck embryonated eggs.

References

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Asplin, F.D., 1961. Notes on epidemiology and vaccination for virus hepatitis of ducks. Bulletin de l'Office International des Epizooties, 56:793-800.

Asplin, F.D., 1965. Duck hepatitis: vaccination against two serological types. Veterinary Record, 77:1529-1530.

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Distribution References

Asplin F D, 1965. Duck hepatitis: vaccination against two serological types. Veterinary Record. 1529-1530.

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Guo Y P, Pan W S, 1984. Preliminary identifications of the duck hepatitis virus serotypes isolated in Beijing, China. Chinese Journal of Veterinary Medicine (Zhongguo Shouyi Zazhi). 10 (11), 2-3.

Hassan T I R, Eid A A M, Ghanem I A I, Shahin A M, Adael S A A, Mohamed F F, 2020. First report of duck hepatitis A virus 3 from duckling flocks of Egypt. Avian Diseases. 64 (3), 269-276. DOI:10.1637/aviandiseases-D-19-00158

Lu Y S, Lin D F, Lee Y L, Liao Y K, Tsai H J, 1993. Infectious bill atrophy syndrome caused by parvovirus in a co-outbreak with duck viral hepatitis in ducklings in Taiwan. Avian Diseases. 37 (2), 591-596. DOI:10.2307/1591694

OIE Handistatus, 2005. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (dataset for 2004)., Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties.

OIE, 2009. World Animal Health Information Database - Version: 1.4., Paris, France: World Organisation for Animal Health. https://www.oie.int/

OIE, 2018. World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS): Jul-Dec. In: OIE-WAHIS Platform, Paris, France: OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). unpaginated. https://wahis.oie.int/

OIE, 2018a. World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS): Jan-Jun. In: OIE-WAHIS Platform, Paris, France: OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). unpaginated. https://wahis.oie.int

OIE, 2019. World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS): Jul-Dec. In: OIE-WAHIS Platform, Paris, France: OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). unpaginated. https://wahis.oie.int/

OIE, 2019a. World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS): Jan-Jun. In: OIE-WAHIS Platform, Paris, France: OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). unpaginated. https://wahis.oie.int/

OIE, 2020. World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS): Jul-Dec. In: OIE-WAHIS Platform, Paris, France: OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). unpaginated. https://wahis.oie.int/

OIE, 2020a. World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS). Jan-Jun. In: OIE-WAHIS Platform, Paris, France: OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). unpaginated. https://wahis.oie.int/

Park N Y, 1985. Occurrence of duck virus hepatitis in Korea. Korean Journal of Veterinary Research. 25 (2), 171-174.

Rao S B V, Gupta B R, 1967. Studies on a filterable agent causing hepatitis in ducklings, and biliary cirrhosis and blood dyscrasia in adults. Part I. Indian Journal of Poultry Science. 2 (2), 18-30 pp.

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