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Avian Dis. 2001 Jan-Mar;45(1):76-82.

Inactivation of an astrovirus associated with poult enteritis mortality syndrome.

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Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Athens, GA 30605, USA.


Outbreaks of poult enteritis mortality syndrome (PEMS) continue to cause financial losses to the turkey industry. Clinically, PEMS is defined by mortality profiles, diarrhea, flock unevenness, and immunosuppression. PEMS is a very difficult disease to control and prevent. Depopulation of PEMS-affected flocks and thorough cleaning of the contaminated housing have failed to prevent infection (disease) in subsequent flock placements. The relationship of PEMS to other enteric disease complexes of young turkeys is unknown, partly because the causative agent of PEMS remains unknown. Recently, we isolated a unique astrovirus strain from the thymus and intestines of PEMS-infected poults. This strain is molecularly and serologically distinct from the astrovirus that circulated in turkeys in the 1980s. Mammalian astroviruses are very resistant to inactivation. In these studies, we examined the stability of partially purified PEMS-associated astrovirus to inactivation with heat, laboratory disinfectants, and commercial disinfectants used in commercial turkey houses in an embryonated egg model system. Similar to mammalian astroviruses, the PEMS-associated astrovirus is resistant to inactivation by heat, acidification, detergent treatment, and treatment with phenolic, quaternary ammonium, or benzalkonium chloride-based products. Only treatment with formaldehyde, beta-propriolactone, or the peroxymonosulfate-based product Virkon S completely inactivated the astrovirus in the embryo model. These studies provide an alternate means to potentially control at least one virus associated with PEMS through the use of specific disinfectants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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