Toxoplasma gondii is a parasitic protozoan that infects nearly one-third of humans. The present study was performed to isolate and genotype T. gondii from free-range ducks in Malaysia. Sera, heads, and hearts from 205 ducks were obtained from four states in Peninsular Malaysia, and 30 (14.63%) sera were found to be seropositive when assayed with the modified agglutination test (MAT > or = 1:6). All the positive samples were inoculated into mice, and T. gondii was successfully isolated from four individual duck samples (1.95%), which were initially found to be strongly seropositive (MAT > or = 1:24). The isolates were subjected to PCR-RFLP analysis, and two T. gondii strains were identified: type I and type II. This is the first reported study on the genetic characterization of T. gondii isolates from free-range farm animals in Southeast Asia.
Numerous lessons have been learned so far in controlling H5N1 avian influenza in Asia. Early detection of incursions of virus prevented establishment of the disease in several countries, notably Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia. In countries where detection of early cases was delayed, infection is endemic and has been for three or more years. Control measures implemented in these countries need to reflect this finding. Vaccination will continue to be one of the key measures used in these endemically infected countries. Used alone, vaccination will not result in elimination of H5N1 viruses from a country, but, if used correctly, it will markedly reduce the prevalence of and susceptibility to infection. Vaccination has already played a valuable role in reducing the adverse effects of H5N1 viruses. Mass culling also reduces the level of infection in infected areas. However, the long-term benefits are limited in endemically infected countries owing to the high probability of reinfection on restocking unless other measures are used in parallel. Full epidemiological studies have not been conducted in many infected countries. Nevertheless, it is recognized that the number of clinical cases does not truly reflect the levels of infection. Domestic ducks and large live poultry markets have played a key role in the persistence of infection, because they can be infected silently. In tackling this disease, countries should adopt integrated control programs using the combination of measures best suited to the local environment. All surveillance data should be shared, both positive and negative, and should include information on cases of infection and disease. Socioeconomic and ecological implications of all control measures should be assessed before implementation, especially the impact on the rural poor.
Between December 2003 and January 2004 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 infections of poultry were declared in China, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. In 2004 an outbreak was reported in Malaysia. In 2005 H5N1 outbreaks were recorded in poultry in Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine, and virus was isolated from swans in Croatia. In 2004 HPAI H5N1 virus was isolated from smuggled eagles detected at the Brussels Airport and in 2005 imported caged birds held in quarantine in England. In 2006 HPAI was reported in poultry in Iraq, India, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Israel in Asia; Albania, France, and Sweden in Europe; and Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger in Africa; as well as in wild birds in some 24 countries across Asia and Europe. In 2003, over 25,000,000 birds were slaughtered because of 241 outbreaks of HPAI caused by virus of H7N7 subtype in the Netherlands. The virus spread into Belgium (eight outbreaks) and Germany (one outbreak). HPAI H5N2 virus was responsible for outbreaks in ostriches in South Africa during 2005. HPAI H7N3 virus was isolated in Pakistan in 2004. Low-pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) H5 or H7 viruses were isolated from poultry in Italy (H7N3 2002-2003; H5N2 2005), The Netherlands (H7N3 2002), France (H5N2 2003), Denmark (H5N7 2003), Taiwan (H5N2 2004), and Japan (H5N2 2005). Many isolations of LPAI viruses of other subtypes were reported from domestic and wild birds. Infections with H9N2 subtype viruses have been widespread across Asia during 2002-06.
The characteristics of the pathogenic infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) that infected avian species other than commercial chickens were largely unknown. In this study, by using in vivo and molecular methods, we had characterized an IBDV isolate (named 94268) isolated from an infectious bursal disease (IBD) outbreak in Malaysian village chickens--the adulterated descendant of the Southeast Asian jungle fowl (Gallus bankiva) that were commonly reared in the backyard. The 94268 isolate was grouped as the very virulent IBDV (vvIBDV) strain because it caused severe lesions and a high mortality rate in village chickens (>88%) and experimentally infected specific-pathogen-free chickens (>66%). In addition, it possessed all of the vvIBDV molecular markers in its VP2 gene. Phylogenetic analysis using distance, maximum parsimony, and maximum likelihood methods revealed that 94268 was monophyletic with other vvIBDV isolates and closely related to the Malaysian vvIBDV isolates. Given that the VP2 gene of 94268 isolate was almost identical and evolutionarily closely related to other field IBDV isolates that affected the commercial chickens, we therefore concluded that IBD infections had spread across the farm boundary. IBD infection in the village chicken may represent an important part of the IBD epidemiology because these birds could harbor the vvIBDV strain and should not be overlooked in the control and prevention of the disease.
One-day-old chickens were transported from Australia to Malaysia and vaccinated orotracheally with an uninactivated vaccine prepared from avirulent Australian V4 strain of Newcastle disease virus (NDV). The vaccination regimes were as follows: group A, once, at 2 weeks old; group B, once, at 3 weeks old; group C, twice, at 2 and at 3 weeks old; group D, direct contact with groups A, B, and C; and group E, indirect contact with groups A, B, C, and D. Group F was unvaccinated controls. Challenge was with NDV virulent Ipoh AF 2240-226 strain, administered at 4 weeks old intramuscularly to 10 chickens in each group and orotracheally to 10 chickens in each group. The remaining chickens were challenged by contact with the inoculated chickens. Group mortalities following challenge were: A, 1/77; B, 1/34; C, 0/39; D, 0/45; E, 6/43; and F, 60/60.
The VP2 hypervariable region of P97/302 local infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) isolate was amplified by the reverse transcriptase (RT) nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and cloned. This region of P97/302 local isolate was sequenced and compared with eight other reported IBDV sequences. The result showed that P97/302 IBDV was most identical to the reported very virulent IBDV strains because it has amino acid substitutions at positions 222, 256, 294, and 299, which encode alanine, isoleucine, isoleucine, and serine, respectively. This region can be digested with restriction enzymes of Taq1, Sty1, Ssp1 but not with Sac1. The P97/302 isolate was then used for the optimization of RT nested PCR enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The RT nested PCR ELISA was able to detect 10(-4) dilution of the infected bursa homogenates and was 10 times more sensitive when compared with the agarose gel detection method. The RT nested PCR ELISA can detect up to 0.48 ng of the PCR product. The specificity of this nested PCR ELISA was also high (100%).
Herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT) has been successfully used as a Marek's disease (MD) vaccine for more than 40 yr. Either alone (broiler chickens) or in combination with vaccines of other serotypes (broilers, broiler breeders, and layers), HVT is used worldwide. In recent years, several vector vaccines based on HVT (rHVT) have been developed. At present, there are both conventional HVT and rHVTs in the market, and it is unknown if all of them confer the same level of protection against MD. The objective of this study was to further characterize the protection conferred by two conventional HVTs (HVT-A and HVT-B) and three recombinant HVTs (rHVT-B, rHVT-C, and rHVT-D) against MD in broiler chickens. In a first study we evaluated the efficacy of two conventional HVTs (HVT-A and HVT-B) administered at different doses (475, 1500, and 4000 PFU) at day of age on the ability to protect against an early challenge with very virulent plus strain 645. In a second experiment we evaluated the protection ability of several HVTs (both conventional and recombinant) when administered in ovo at a dose of 1500 PFU using the same challenge model. Our results show that each HVT product is unique, regardless of being conventional or recombinant, in their ability to protect against MD and might require different PFUs to achieve its maximum efficacy. In Experiment 1, HVT-A at 4000 PFU conferred higher protection (protection index [PI] = 63) than any of the other vaccine protocols (PI ranging from 36 to 47). In Experiment 2, significant differences were found among vaccine protocols with PI varying from 66 (HVT-A) to 15 (rHVT-D). Our results show that each HVT is unique and age at vaccination and vaccine dose greatly affected vaccine efficacy. Furthermore, they highlight the need of following manufacturer's recommendations.
Studies have shown that infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) infects lymphoid cells, mainly B cells and macrophages. This study was aimed to examine the involvement of chicken splenic-derived dendritic cells (ch-sDCs) in specific-pathogen-free chickens following inoculation with IBDV vaccine strain (D78) and a very virulent (vv) strain (UPM0081). Following IBDV infection, enriched activated ch-sDCs were collected by using the negative selection method and were examined based on morphology and immunophenotyping to confirm the isolation method for dendritic cells (DCs). The presence of IBDV on enriched activated ch-sDCs was analyzed based on the immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT), flow cytometry, and quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) while the mRNAs of several cytokines were detected using RT-qPCR. The isolated ch-sDCs resembled typical DC morphologies found in mammals by having a veiled shape and they grew in clusters. Meanwhile, the expression of DC maturation markers, namely CD86 and MHCII, were increased at day 2 and day 3 following vvIBDV and vaccine strain inoculation, respectively, ranging from 10% to 40% compared to the control at 2.55% (P < 0.05). At day 3 postinfection, IBDV VP3 proteins colocalized with CD86 were readily detected via IFAT and flow cytometry in both vaccine and vvIBDV strains. In addition, enriched activated ch-sDCs were also detected as positive based on the VP4 gene by RT-qPCR; however, a higher viral load was detected on vvIBDV compared to the vaccine group. Infection with vaccine and vvIBDV strains induced the enriched activated ch-sDCs to produce proinflammatory cytokines and Th1-like cytokines from day 3 onward; however, the expressions were higher in the vvIBDV group (P < 0.05). These data collectively suggest that enriched activated ch-sDCs were permissive to IBDV infection and produced a strong inflammatory and Th1-like cytokine response following vvIBDV infection as compared to the vaccine strain.
Portions of the hemagglutinin neuraminidase (HN) gene of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) isolates from two recent outbreaks were sequenced to investigate epidemiology of this disease in Taiwan. These NDV isolates were all viscerotropic velogenic according to the clinical lesions produced in chickens. Sequence data were obtained from 14 NDV isolates (12 from 1995 and 2 from 1984). All isolates differed in their nucleotide sequences (from 0.3 to 15.3%), and represented potentially different strains of NDV. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that these isolates are closely related to viruses isolated from Japan and Malaysia. Some viruses isolated in 1995 appeared to evolve from viruses isolated in 1984. The results suggest that the 1995 outbreak of Newcastle disease (ND) in Taiwan may have been caused by multiple strains of velogenic NDV that have cocirculated in Taiwan for some time. Moreover, NDV isolates from racing pigeons were very similar to isolates from chickens in the same period, suggesting that both domestic and free-living birds were involved in the spread of ND in Taiwan.
Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is one of the major poultry pathogens of global importance. However, the prevalence of IBV strains in Malaysia is poorly characterized. The partial genomic sequences (6.8 kb) comprising the S-3a/3b-E-M-intergenic region-5a/5b-N gene order of 11 Malaysian IBVs isolated in 2014 and 2015 were sequenced using next-generation sequencing technology. Phylogenetic and pairwise sequence comparison analysis showed that the isolated IBVs are divided into two groups. Group 1 (IBS124/2015, IBS125/2015, IBS126/2015, IBS130/2015, IBS131/2015, IBS138/2015, and IBS142/2015) shared 90%-95% nucleotide and deduced amino acid similarities to the QX-like strain. Among these isolates, IBS142/2015 is the first IBV detected in Sarawak state located in East Malaysia (Borneo Island). Meanwhile, IBV isolates in Group 2 (IBS037A/2015, IBS037B/2015, IBS051/2015, and IBS180/2015) were 91.62% and 89.09% identical to Malaysian variant strain MH5365/95 (EU086600) at nucleotide and amino acid levels, respectively. In addition, all studied IBVs were distinctly separate from Massachusetts (70%-72% amino acid similarity) and European strains including 793/B, Italy-02, and D274 (68%-73% amino acid similarity). Viruses in Group 1 have the insertion of three amino acids at positions 23, 121, and 122 of the S1 protein and recombinant events detected at nucleotide position 4354-5864, with major parental sequence derived from QX-like (CK-CH-IBYZ-2011) and a minor parental sequence derived from Massachusetts vaccine strain (H120). This study demonstrated coexistence of the IBV Malaysian variant strain along with the QX-like strain in Malaysia.
Chicken infectious anemia virus (CAV) is a worldwide-distributed infectious agent that affects commercial poultry. Although this agent was first detected in Argentina in 1994, no further studies on CAV in this country were reported after that. The recent increased occurrence of clinical cases of immunosuppression that could be caused by CAV has prompted this study. Our results confirmed that CAV is still circulating in commercial flocks in Argentina. Phylogenetic analysis focusing on the VP1 nucleotide sequence showed that all Argentinean isolates grouped together in a cluster, sharing a high similarity (> 97%) with genotype B reference strains. However, Argentinean isolates were distantly related to other strains commonly used for vaccination in this country, such as Del-Ros and Cux-1. Sequence analysis of predicted VP1 peptides showed that most of the Argentinean isolates have a glutamine residue at positions 139 and 144, suggesting that these isolates might have a reduced spread in cell culture compared with Cux-1. In addition, a particular amino acid substitution at position 290 is present in all studied Argentinean isolates, as well as in several VP1 sequences from Malaysia, Australia, and Japan isolates. Our results indicate that it is possible to typify CAV strains by comparison of VPI nucleotide sequences alone because the same tree topology was obtained when using the whole genome sequence. The molecular analysis of native strains sheds light into the epidemiology of CAV in Argentinean flocks. In addition, this analysis could be considered in future control strategies focused not only on breeders but on broilers and layer flocks.