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Astroviruses associated with stunting and pre-hatching mortality in duck and goose embryos

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The first detection of avian nephritis virus (ANV) in goose embryos and of turkey astrovirus-1 (TAstV-1) in duck embryos is described. Intestinal samples from duck and goose embryos from five duck and four goose flocks in Croatia were tested by polymerase chain reaction for the presence of ANV, TAstV-1, turkey astrovirus-2, chicken astrovirus, duck astrovirus and also for the presence of avian reovirus, Derzsy's disease virus and duck enteritis virus. The kidneys from duck and goose embryos were also tested for ANV, while liver samples were tested for duck astrovirus. Duck embryos were also tested to detect duck circovirus and goose embryos for the presence of goose circovirus and goose haemorrhagic polyomavirus. All embryos were in the final stage of incubation and were characterized by moderate to markedly retarded growth. ANV was confirmed in the intestines and kidneys of embryos from two duck and two goose flocks and TAstV-1 was found in embryos from two duck flocks. One duck flock was positive for both ANV and TAstV-1. No other viruses were found in tested flocks. Phylogenetic analysis based on the ANV polymerase gene fragment of ANV sequences detected in duck and goose embryos revealed greatest similarity (88.1 to 97.2%) with ANV isolates from chickens. Further, the existence of at least two types of ANV circulating in Croatian duck and goose flocks was confirmed. Based on the phylogenetic analysis of the portion of TAstV-1 polymerase gene, two detected TAstV-1 nucleotide sequences were 99.5% similar. Compared with six TAstV-1 sequences, Croatian sequences showed one unique nucleotide change. In addition to other possible causes of stunted growth and late embryonic death, these findings suggest that ANV and/or TAstV-1 infection may be a contributing factor in the pre-hatching mortality of ducklings and goslings.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Poultry Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,University of Zagreb, Heinzelova 5510000,Zagreb, Croatia 2: Department of Virology,Croatian Veterinary Institute, Savska cesta 14310000,Zagreb, Croatia 3: Poultry Centre,Croatian Veterinary Institute, Heinzelova 5510000,Zagreb, Croatia 4: Veterinary Department Križevci,Croatian Veterinary Institute, Dijankovecka 1048260,Križevci, Croatia

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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