Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Intervention Strategies to Control and Prevent Enteric Viral Diseases of Poultry

Location: Endemic Poultry Viral Diseases Research Unit

Title: Characterization of viral enteric infections in chickens and turkeys: focus on new molecular techniques

Author
item Day, James

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 10, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The gut plays a key role in the overall performance of poultry flocks, but little is known about the virus community present in the poultry intestinal tract. It is likely that certain enteric viruses may affect the overall health and performance of commercial poultry, and it is possible that there are many unidentified and poorly described viruses in poultry. Poultry professionals are well aware of the economic significance of ongoing cases of enteric disease. There is a pressing need to characterize the complex viral community present in the poultry gut—an important and difficult first step toward determining the role this complex community plays in enteric disease and general production losses. Our application of new nucleic acid sequencing technology has allowed the characterization of the microbial communities present in the turkey gut. Proper and effective management of poultry enteric disease will require novel, up-to-date diagnostic assays in order to determine the prevalence of enteric viruses on farms and to characterize the damage caused by enteric viral infection. It is anticipated that improved knowledge of the poultry gut viral community will 1) increase and improve flock performance, resulting in an economic advantage to poultry producers; 2) result in less severe disease signs, leading to decreased use of therapeutics (i.e., antibiotics) to control secondary bacterial infections; and 3) lead to moreinformed management decisions by managers/stakeholders.

Technical Abstract: The gut plays a key role in the overall performance of poultry flocks, but little is known about the complex viral constituency present in the poultry intestinal tract. It is likely that certain enteric viruses may affect the overall health and performance of commercial poultry, and it is possible that unidentified and poorly described viruses may play specific roles in enteric disease syndromes. Poultry professionals are well aware of the economic significance of ongoing cases of enteric disease, which are often necessarily placed into the broad category of “non-specific enteritis” in the field. Therefore, there is a pressing need to characterize the complex viral community present in the poultry gut—an important and difficult first step toward determining the role this complex community plays in enteric disease and general production losses. Using high-throughput, sequence-independent “next-generation” nucleic acid sequencing technology and metagenomic analysis techniques has allowed the molecular characterization of the microbial communities present in numerous complex environmental samples of agricultural importance. The initial identification and molecular characterization of these novel viruses will allow detailed sequence and phylogenetic analyses, leading to an initial taxonomic placement and the identification of genotypes and specific geographical isolates. Proper and effective management of poultry enteric disease will require novel, up-to-date diagnostic assays in order to determine the prevalence of enteric viruses on farms and to characterize the pathology caused by enteric viral infection. It is anticipated that improved knowledge of the poultry gut viral community will 1) increase and improve flock performance, resulting in an economic advantage to producers through improved feed conversions and efficiency; 2) result in less severe enteric signs, leading to decreased use of therapeutics (i.e., antibiotics) to control concomitant bacterial infections; and 3) lead to more informed management decisions by managers/stakeholders.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page