The viral poultry disease, Infectious Bursal Disease Virus (IBDV), which is not known to infect humans or other animals has now been confirmed in a flock of birds in Washington state, US.
The viral infection can result in high death losses in flocks, affecting young birds significantly. The disease can also suppress the birds' immune system, making them more vulnerable to secondary disease resulting in birds that do not die quickly.
Other forms of the virus are present throughout the US but this new version has been reported only in California, and now, Washington State. The disease is not a regulated, reportable one, and is usually managed by poultry veterinarians and flock owners through biosecurity and disinfection.
Wild birds, such as healthy ducks, guinea fowl, quail and pheasants, have been found to be naturally infected with IBDV but they do not appear to be significant in the spread of disease to domestic poultry.
Diagnosis is based on clinical signs including death losses, depression and ruffling of feathers, poor appetite, huddling, an unsteady gate, reluctance to rise, and diarrhea. As a result, the disease can be confused with other poultry diseases. Experts advise that definitive diagnosis is made through post-mortem examination and virus testing.
The Washington State University-Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratories in Pullman and the WSU Avian Health and Food Safety Laboratory in Puyallup have stated that they can provide assistance and testing of recently deceased birds for chicken and turkey owners.
Source: Washington State University