Diagnosis of poult enteritis complex (PEC) and molecular detection of avian coronaviruses in some commercial turkey flocks in Iran

Document Type : Short paper


Department of Animal and Poultry Health and Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran



Background: Enteritis syndromes also known as poult enteritis complex (PEC) with diverse etiologies can affect turkey production. An avian coronavirus (AvCoV), turkey coronavirus (TCoV) is one of the most important viral causes of PEC in turkeys. Aims: In the present study the occurrence of PEC and the presence of AvCoV in some commercial turkey flocks were investigated. Methods: PEC was diagnosed based on the history, clinical and necropsy findings. A reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) targeting AvCoV nucleoprotein (N) gene was applied to detect AvCoV in the tissue samples. Cloacal swabs were also collected from 11 flocks without known history of PEC. Results: PEC has been diagnosed in six (16.2%) out of 37 investigated turkey flocks. The daily mortality rate in affected flocks ranged from 0.2 to 1.2%. Samples from eight flocks out of 18 (44.4%) including four PEC affected flocks were positive for the AvCoV. Seven positive samples were sequenced and phylogenetic analysis revealed the close relationship with previously characterized avian infectious bronchitis viruses (IBV). Conclusion: The results suggested that PEC should be considered as a significant syndrome in Iranian turkey industry. While no causative association with PEC could be concluded from this preliminary study, it was shown that avian coronavirus infection is prevalent in commercial turkey farms of Iran.


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