Domestic houseflies (Musca domestica Linnaeaus) were examined for their ability to harbor and transmit turkey coronavirus (TCV). Laboratory-reared flies were experimentally exposed to TCV by allowing flies to imbibe an inoculum comprised of turkey embryo–propagated virus (NC95 strain). TCV was detected in dissected crops from exposed flies for up to 9 hr postexposure; no virus was detected in crops of sham-exposed flies. TCV was not detected in dissected intestinal tissues collected from exposed or sham-exposed flies at any time postexposure. The potential of the housefly to directly transmit TCV to live turkey poults was examined by placing 7-day-old turkey poults in contact with TCV-exposed houseflies 3 hr after flies consumed TCV inoculum. TCV infection was detected in turkeys placed in contact with TCV-exposed flies at densities as low as one fly/bird (TCV antigens detected at 3 days post fly contact in tissues of 3/12 turkeys); however, increased rates of infection were observed with higher fly densities (TCV antigens detected in 9/12 turkeys after contact with 10 flies/bird). This study demonstrates the potential of the housefly to serve as a mechanical vector of TCV.
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Vol. 47 • No. 1