Evidence of the circulation of avian metapneumovirus in domestic backyard chickens in Eastern Saudi Arabia in 2019

Vet World. 2023 Jun;16(6):1246-1251. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2023.1246-1251. Epub 2023 Jun 8.


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) is a recently discovered respiratory virus in chickens. Avian metapneumovirus has been linked to respiratory syndromes, reproductive failure in affected chickens and turkeys, swollen head syndrome in chickens, and rhinotracheitis in turkeys. Wild birds are considered potential reservoirs of aMPV, particularly aMPV-C. However, little is known about the prevalence of aMPV in Saudi Arabia. Considering the relevance of backyard chickens in the transmission and sustainability of certain avian viral diseases, this study aimed to assess aMPV exposure in backyard chickens and wild birds circulating near selected locations.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We collected 368 serum samples from unvaccinated backyard chickens in ten locations in Eastern Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, we collected 78 serum samples from species of free-ranging birds belonging to the Columbidae family, such as pigeons and doves, captured from the same areas. Using commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits, we tested the sera of domestic backyard chickens and wild birds for antibodies against aMPV.

RESULTS: Our results showed that 74/368 birds were positive for aMPV-related antibodies. Conversely, none of the tested wild birds seroconverted to aMPV.

CONCLUSION: The antibody titers detected in the backyard chickens suggested recent exposure to aMPV. Considering these results, further large-scale serological and molecular studies are needed to evaluate the prevalence of aMPV in these birds and characterize the circulating strains of aMPV in this region.

PMID:37577191 | PMC:PMC10421553 | DOI:10.14202/vetworld.2023.1246-1251


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