The myocarditis associated with reovirus in commercial turkeys was studied retrospectively. Fifty-two cases were identified between 1991 and 2009. The lesions occurred in four different poultry companies in California and affected male and female turkeys with an average age of 19 days. Increased mortality in the turkey flocks ranged from 0.35% to 3% per week in 47 cases. Reovirus was isolated from the heart in 14 out of 19 cases. Twenty-four out of 28 birds from nine cases had low vitamin E levels in the liver ranging from 0.29 to 2.5 ppm (normal 3.0 to ≥15 ppm). Transmission electron microscopy of the heart revealed degenerative changes in the myocardial cells. Reovirus has been suggested as a probable etiology of this condition. Vitamin E deficiency might also contribute to the development of the lesions.
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Vol. 54 • No. 3