In recent years inclusion body hepatitis (IBH) has emerged as an economically important disease in Western Canada. Historically, infections with infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) and chicken anemia virus (CAV) have been known to suppress the immune system of broilers and make them more susceptible to a secondary disease such as IBH. Recently it has been reported that virulent adenoviruses are able to cause IBH as a primary disease in broilers without apparent involvement of IBDV and CAV. The objectives of this study were to examine the possible association of IBH with IBDV and CAV infections in Western Canada and to identify adenoviruses involved in outbreaks. Serum samples from 17 broiler-breeder flocks and their progeny were collected when broilers were hatched and then again from broilers at the time of slaughter, and these samples were tested for IBDV and CAV antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Based on the ELISA titers the antibody response to vaccination against IBDV and CAV was at an expected level in all broiler flocks. Therefore, IBH outbreaks in these flocks were not due to inadequate levels of antibodies against IBDV and CAV. Moreover, there was no correlation found between occurrences of IBH outbreaks in broilers and their IBDV or CAV titers at the time of processing. Viruses that were isolated from livers of birds suffering from IBH could be classified into four different genotypes. Their hexon gene loop 1 sequences showed high percentages of identity to FAdV-7, FAdV-8a, FAdV-8b, and FAdV-11. The results of this study could not demonstrate an association of IBH with IBDV and CAV infections, but they supported the hypothesis that IBH in broilers in Western Canada is a primary disease with no apparent immunosuppressive involvement.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4