From January 2009 to June 2010, many broiler chicks suddenly died without clinical signs. The mortality rates were from 1.2% to 17.0% in affected flocks. Inclusion body hepatitis (IBH) was detected in 13 prefectures (northern, eastern, western, and southern areas) in Japan. The livers were enlarged and pale. The bursa of Fabricius and thymus had not atrophied. Multifocal necroses of hepatocytes with basophilic intranuclear inclusions were seen in the liver. Eosinophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies in hepatocytes were rare. Focal necrosis of acinar cells with basophilic intranuclear inclusions was found in the pancreas. Basophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies were detected in intact surface epithelial cells of gizzard and epithelial cells of the small intestine. The intranuclear inclusions of liver, pancreas, gizzard, and small intestine were stained positively for immunohistochemistry of fowl adenovirus (FAV) antigen. Ultrastructurally, basophilic intranuclear inclusions consisted of viral particles approximately 70 nm in diameter and arranged in a crystalline array. FAV was isolated from the liver of chickens affected with IBH. The serotype of most isolates was 2. This study suggests that IBH produced by FAV is epidemic in broiler chicks in Japan and that the present cases occurred as the primary disease without the association of infectious bursal disease virus or chicken anemia virus.
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Vol. 55 • No. 4