Avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) represents one of the most prevalent diseases of turkey, especially in combination with other pathogens, and its frequency is also increasing among chickens. Despite this evidence, epidemiologic data are poor and scattered, severely preventing control of the disease even in highly developed areas such as Europe. In the present study, the detection and characterization of an aMPV subtype B strain circulating in a vaccinated but symptomatic Romanian broiler flock is reported for the first time. The phylogenetic analysis based on the partial G gene sequence demonstrates the close relationship of the Romanian virus with a group of recently emerged Italian field strains for which vaccine-induced protection was experimentally proven to be partial. These preliminary results allow us to hypothesize the spreading of vaccine-escaping aMPV subtype B strains through Europe and, consequently, dictate the carrying out of a more systematic survey to confirm this theory and enforce adequate countermeasures.
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Vol. 61 • No. 2