Turkey coronavirus (TCoV) is a causative agent associated with poult enteritis and mortality syndrome (PEMS) in turkeys worldwide. The disease is an acute, highly contagious enteric disease that is characterized by depression, anorexia, diarrhea, and high mortality in commercial turkey flocks. The presence of TCoV in 12 intestinal-content samples, from turkey flocks aged between 10 and 104 days and exhibiting severe enteritis, was monitored during the period of 2004 to 2006. TCoV detection was accomplished by a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) through amplification of the 3′ UTR region, followed by amplification of genes 3 and 5. Molecular characterization of the viruses was done through amplification of genes 3 and 5 and showed evidence of genetic similarity between them, although they differed from sequences of other TCoVs described in the literature. In relation to gene 3, samples showed a greater relationship with chicken infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), while gene 5 showed greater identity with pheasant coronavirus (PhCoV). Our results suggest that the strategy of amplification of the 3′ UTR region, followed by sequencing of genes 3 and 5, has proven to be an effective means of detecting TCoV in intestinal contents.
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Vol. 53 • No. 3