Infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) is routinely diagnosed by histopathologic examination of trachea, eyelid, and lung tissues. Lesions consistent with infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) infection include syncytial cell formation with intranuclear inclusion bodies. These changes are present during the acute phase of infection. To increase the sensitivity of detecting ILT, a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was developed for detection of ILTV DNA. Nested PCR assay was specific for the amplification of ILTV DNA and did not amplify a variety of other avian pathogens. To further validate the ability of this assay to detect ILT, nested PCR was performed in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues from 35 cases of respiratory disease. Of the 35 cases, 12 were considered ILT suspects on the basis of initial clinical observation. Eleven of the 12 ILT-suspect cases were diagnosed as ILT, and the remaining 24 were diagnosed as nonspecific tracheitis (NST) by histopathologic examination. Histopathologically positive samples were confirmed by direct fluorescent antibody test and virus isolation. Of the 11 ILT-positive cases, 10 were positive by nested PCR. In addition, ILTV DNA was detected in 7 of the 24 samples diagnosed as NST upon histopathologic examination. Therefore, by nested PCR, ILTV DNA was detected in tissues independently of the presence of syncytial cells, intranuclear inclusions, or both. ILT nested PCR is a specific and sensitive assay capable of detecting ILT at different stages of infection and can be utilized in combination with histopathological examination to accelerate the diagnosis of ILT infection.
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Vol. 46 • No. 1