Molecular techniques have not only made timely and accurate detection of infectious bursal disease viruses (IBDVs) possible but also have allowed the identification of viral strains. Previously, we identified a genetic marker that distinguished wild-type IBDV strains from vaccine strains of the virus. The marker was an NgoM IV restriction enzyme site in the VP2 gene that was present in 10 wild-type viruses but not 16 vaccine strains of IBDV. On the basis of that study, we concluded that the NgoM IV marker could be useful in the identification of wild-type potentially pathogenic strains of this virus. Because virulent (hot) vaccine strains of IBDV are used to vaccinate commercial poultry, it was important to determine if the NgoM IV marker was present in these virulent vaccines. The infectious bursal disease Blen and Bursa Vac virulent vaccines were examined and determined to contain the marker. We concluded that the presence of this marker was not unique to wild-type strains of the virus. The absence of the NgoM IV marker, however, was consistent with some level of attenuation, and its presence appears to be consistent with virulent IBDV strains.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4