Detection of avian rotaviruses of groups A, D, F and G in diseased chickens and turkeys from Europe and Bangladesh
Avian rotaviruses (AvRVs) represent a diverse group of intestinal viruses, which are suspected as the cause of several diseases in poultry with symptoms of diarrhoea, growth retardation or runting and stunting syndrome (RSS). To assess the distribution of AvRVs in chickens and turkeys, we have developed specific PCR protocols. These protocols were applied in two field studies investigating faecal samples or intestinal contents of diseased birds derived from several European countries and Bangladesh. In the first study, samples of 166 chickens and 33 turkeys collected between 2005 and 2008 were tested by PAGE and conventional RT-PCR and AvRVs were detected in 46.2%. In detail, 16.1% and 39.2% were positive for AvRVs of groups A or D, respectively. 11.1% of the samples contained both of them and only four samples (2.0%) contained rotaviruses showing a PAGE pattern typical for groups F and G. In the second study, samples from 375 chickens and 18 turkeys collected between 2009 and 2010 were analyzed using a more sensitive group A-specific and a new group D-specific real-time RT-PCR. In this survey, 85.0% were AvRV-positive, 58.8% for group A AvRVs, 65.9% for group D AvRVs and 38.9% for both of them. Although geographical differences exist, the results generally indicate a very high prevalence of group A and D rotaviruses in chicken and turkey flocks with cases of diarrhoea, growth retardation or RSS. The newly developed diagnostic tools will help to investigate the epidemiology and clinical significance of AvRV infections in poultry.