A Korean field strain of fowl adenovirus (FAdV) 8b was isolated from chickens showing high mortality. Isolated FAdV-8b strains with the hexon and fiber genes were genetically analyzed. The Korean FAdV-8b (K194/19) strain isolated in 2019 showed higher sequence identity with the FAdV-8b strain isolated in China but lower sequence identity with the Korean FAdV-8b (K187/08) strain isolated in 2008. The K194/19 strain formed a distinct subcluster within the FAdV-8b cluster in a phylogenetic tree based on hexon and fiber genes. FAdV can infect day-old chicks through vertical transmission, and so blood samples were obtained from 54-, 60-, and 63-wk-old parent chickens. FAdV-specific antibody levels were investigated with ELISA and virus neutralization (VN) tests with the K194/19 and K187/08 strains as antigens. In VN tests, all sera neutralized the K187/08 strain. However, the K194/19 strain was neutralized by sera collected from 60- and 63-wk-old chickens but not sera obtained from 54-wk-old chickens, indicating natural infection. Finally, to determine the pathogenicity of the K194/19 strain, 1-day-old and 4-wk-old specific-pathogen-free birds were infected with the K194/19 and K187/08 strains. No significant difference in pathogenicity was observed between the two strains. Although the K194/19 strain showed similar pathogenicity with the K187/08 strain, differences in nucleotide and amino acid sequences of the hexon and fiber genes may determine the evasion ability of the K187/08 neutralizing antibody, indicating the need for development of a novel FAdV vaccine.
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Vol. 65 • No. 1