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1 March 2012 Follow-Up Investigations on Different Courses of Natural Avian Bornavirus Infections in Psittacines
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To study the course of natural avian bornavirus (ABV) infection, 63 psittacines of three bird collections where ABV had been demonstrated were investigated over a period of 1 yr. The psittacines were clinically observed and swabs of crop and cloaca as well as serum samples were collected three separate times at intervals of 2–6 mo. According to the results of detection of ABV RNA by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and of anti-ABV antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IIFA), 43 of the birds were found to be infected with ABV. Based on variations in virus shedding and antibody production in combination with the occurrence of proventricular dilatation disease (PDD) –related clinical signs, pathological findings, and lethal outcome, four different groups of infected psittacines and a fifth group of noninfected psittacines were identified. Group 1 comprised six birds with various courses of ABV infection and forms of clinical PDD. Groups 2–4 included all birds with subclinical ABV infections: Group 2 contained 13 birds that were consistently (subgroup A, 6 birds) or inconsistently (subgroup B, 7 birds) ABV positive by PCR and serology; group 3 was composed of 13 psittacines exhibiting only anti-ABV antibodies; and 8 birds that had positive ABV RNA detection in crop and cloaca, but did not develop anti-ABV specific antibodies, were classified in group 4. Twenty-three out of the 63 psittacines remained free of detectable ABV RNA or anti-ABV antibodies over the whole observation period (group 5). Based on the results, it seems that birds with high ABV RNA load in crop and cloaca combined with high anti-ABV antibodies have a high risk of the development of PDD, indicating that the humoral antibodies do not protect against the disease. The meaning of the detection of ABV RNA and antibodies at a low and inconsistent level for the single bird as well as for the epidemiology of the ABV infection remained unclear in this field study and needs to be further investigated.

American Association of Avian Pathologists
Ursula Heffels-Redmann, Dirk Enderlein, Sibylle Herzog, Anne Piepenbring, Marcellus Bürkle, Daniel Neumann, Christiane Herden, and Michael Lierz "Follow-Up Investigations on Different Courses of Natural Avian Bornavirus Infections in Psittacines," Avian Diseases 56(1), 153-159, (1 March 2012).
Received: 28 June 2011; Accepted: 1 October 2011; Published: 1 March 2012

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