Infectious bronchitis is a respiratory disease of chickens caused by a gammacoronavirus named infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). In addition to affecting the respiratory tract, IBV may also induce urogenital infections, leading to nephropathogenic disease, false layer syndrome in laying hens, and epididymal lithiasis and epididymitis in males. Here, we report a case of decreased reproductive efficiency due to male infertility in 33- to 38-wk-old broiler breeders. At necropsy, the males presented with urates deposited on the skin around the vent and testicular asymmetry due to marked unilateral atrophy. Histopathology revealed lymphocytic epididymitis, epididymal lithiasis, and orchitis. IBV antigen was detected within collecting and efferent ducts of epididymides by immunohistochemistry. IBV strain DMV/1639 was detected by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR in pools of testes, oviducts, tracheas, cecal tonsils, and kidneys from a 37-wk-old affected flock. This report shows evidence of the role of IBV in male chicken infertility and highlights the importance of performing molecular surveillance of IBV to monitor vaccine strains and to detect emerging variants that can potentially hinder production.
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Vol. 66 • No. 1