Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) is resistant to many environmental stresses and often persists on farms for months. This study investigated survival of a vaccine strain of IBDV in the bursa of Fabricius and splenic tissue from experimentally infected chickens and in splenic tissue and manure that had been inoculated with the virus. The specimens buried in compost were contained within nylon mesh bags, and the tissues were enclosed within the abdominal cavity of chicken carcasses. Extracts of composted specimens were inoculated into Vero cell cultures, and real-time reverse transcriptase PCR was used to quantify the virus in the cultures. By day 7 in compost, the temperature had been slightly above 55 C for 2.6 days and IBDV had been inactivated in specimens that had been inoculated with virus but had survived in tissues that had been taken from infected chickens. By day 14, the temperature had been above 55 C for 8.8 days and the virus was inactivated in all specimens. The results suggest that composting of poultry carcasses and manure would help to break the cycle of infection with IBDV and that the virus could be valuable as a surrogate for predicting the inactivation of less resistant viruses during composting.
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Vol. 54 • No. 2